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THE O'HARA FAMILY.
THE NOWLANS, AND PETER OF THE CASTLE.
-" Farewell the plumed troop and the big wars."
IN THftEE VOLUMES.
HENRY COLBURN, NEW BURLINGTON STREET.
THE MEW YORK
* ' ► • # « ,« • *• •
• - •• « • »
PRINTED BY S. AND R. BBNTLEY, DORSET -STREET.
PETER OF THE CASTLE.
VOL. III. a 2
PETER OF THE CASTLE.
" There is a time for all things," saith the
proverb ; and while this is taken to mean that
there are distinct times proper to all the various
acts we have to perform, we presume it further
permits the same thing to be done at different
times in different places. For instance : —
The month of May, with its flowers, and
its soft breeze, and its mild sun, is generally
allowed to be the best season for young, ardent
love, to blossom, and, from its novelty and
freshness, to yield the purest delight. And yet
we are aware of another season/ in our own
marrying country, when, tired of their gambols
VOL. III. B
2 PETEE OF THE CASTLE.
round the winter fire-side, weary even of their mu-
tual devotions, and, as it were, miserable at their
happiness, love leads his votaries, manacled,
'two by two, before the throne of Hymen, in pro-
cessions so long and crowded as to create much
squeezing and elbowing on the road ;— alas !
that the despotic divinity should so often prove
ungrateful for the services of his laughing pur-
veyor I — that he should so often bang his cham-
ber door against the terrified little god of love,
leaving him to fly away self-convicted of the
folly of providing subjects for one so thankless !
— But that is not our present business.
Lent, the chief time of fast and abstinence
among Roman Catholic people, sets in, upon
an average, (for it is a " moveable" period,) to-
wards the end of February. During its continu-
ance, marriage, along with many other savoury
indulgences, cannot lawfully be attained ; and,
as a positive forbearance of six or seven weeks
seems too hard a trial, merely, perhaps, because
it is a forced probation, a great movement of
the middle and lower orders, male and female,
takes place some time before; that is, during the
Reason termed " Shrovetide,' 1 or, as oar coun-
trymen and countrywomen call it, " Shroft,"
so that the Irish Hymen is, conjointly with his
PETEE OF THE CASTLE. 3
more serious divinityship, the god of pancakes
As this great time approaches, the influx into
country towns of rural belles, and, as a matter
of course, of rural beaux, is very remarkable ;
the former, with their best beaver-hats, (articles
of superior fashion) cocked after the smartest
taste, or their caps set on with a peculiar air ;
their best smiles on their rosy lips; and their
witching glances plainly understood by the op-
posite files to mean — " who wants a wife." Nor
do u the boys" repair to this meeting uncon-
scious of a motive, or negligent of the proofs
of one. The most flaming waistcoats are pro-
vided; new corderoy small-clothes, with gilt
buttons, (not always used for the purpose they
have been put in, for they are left to swing
open at the knees, agitating their long silk
strings;) well-fitting stockings ; and — the brogues
kicked off on the occasion — small-pointed shoes,
all showing, to the greatest advantage, the ex-
cellent leg and instep : while the hat set at one
side, a roguish leer, an ostentatious display of
person, whether " rollicking," or snug, or well-
rigged to suit all tastes, are distinguishing signs
to the fair critics, that " such, or such, have a
notion of taking on" at the coming Shroft.
4 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
Former courtships are renewed ; new ones are
ontered upon ; and they may be seen dividing
in pairs, with their respective adherents, towards
the public-house ; the girls at first demurring,
through well-acted timidity ; yet, after much
coaxing and pressing, kindly yielding to " take
the treat ;" alive as^ any of their betters to the
great axiom of women's nature, that a conquest
at a first attack is but indifferently valued.
If old folk happen to be stingy, the girls
who can do it now embezzle " mescaums o'but-
ther," "mauleens o'corn," " hanfuls o- praties,"
or <c glaums o* wool," to be disposed of, under
the rose, at the market ; and with the proceeds
of this contraband trade, throng to the riband-
shops, where, if two or three from the 'same
neighbourhood, and upon the same all-important
errand, happen to meet, they may be observed,
to the seller's cost, pondering, and consulting,'
and hesitating, and whispering, before a choice
of the most destructive colour can possibly be
made out of the variety before them ; or, when
things have come to a serious pass, the mother,
and two or three old cronies, will accompany
them, with an ample purse, to conduct more
important bargains ; and then money flies libe-
rally, while many little stratagems are used that
PETEB OF THE CASTLE. 5
the sagacious shopman or shopwoman may not
guess (what is easily conjectured) the exact
purpose for which such unusual finery is pro-
cured: a secret the old dame tries to keep to
herself, lest advantage should be taken of the
admission in the price of the article, and which
"" the young thing" hides " because it is man-
nerly to do so."
Now is the time when the fair ones, who
hav« previously been courted and flattered to
little purpose, are expected to " lave off their
thricks an' their quare ways,* and give the
long-expected, and, indeed, long-intended, yes,
or sha asthore, as the case may be ;— Hnen tally
adding, after all their little coquetry, (as one
among them acknowledged to us, on a recent
occasion) — " thankee for axin/" Now is the
time when fathers who have sons or daughters
to settle in the world, meet in the little village
public-house, and, " Darby, that *s a clane,
comely colleen belongin' to you," commences
many a treaty which is discussed over a pot of
ale. And then comes the assembling of all par-
ties the next market-day, wiien the money-mat-
ters are talked over " to the very far then, an»
to the farthen itoelf," betwixt the old men,
with as much cool calculation as distinguishes
O PETER OF THE CASTLE.
the diplomacy of their superiors on similar oc-
casions ; while the mothers, taking in hand an-
other branch of the subject, discourse of th^
natural or acquired, the mental or personal per-
fections of the young couple. By one, the ex-
pert housewifery of the girl is set forth ; " her
nate, cool hands for makin' the butther;" the
pieces of linen (to go in as part of her " portion")
brought by her to " the blache" last season, and
wrought with a thrifty foresight to the wants
of a future establishment, whether we consider
sheeting, or articles of male and female wear; in
fact, all the young woman's useful accomplish-
ments and habits are stated, and, as the tale
comes from a mother's tongue, it cannot much
be wondered at if, now and then, there occur a
little exaggeration. And the other old dame
displays, perhaps, with some slight decorations,
also, her son's excellencies ; his industry, late
and early ; his knowledge of his business, in all
its branches of plowing, sowing, reaping, mow-
ing, stacking, threshing; his good-nature and
good-humour; his spirit; his manly feats at
running, or leaping, or hurling, or wrestling;
nay, the eulogist may, with sparkling eyes, even
hint his skill at cudgel or alpeen ; and, in what
they call u a pig's whisper,"— (that is, a confi-
PKTKE OF THE CASTLE. 7
dentiaL tone, meant, as it were, for one particular
ear, while all around can hear it, if they will) —
a few anecdotes of his prowess and conquests
in this way may be thrown into the scale, as a
All this while, placed in the back-ground, in
a shady corner, where distance and twilight
hide the blushes of the one, and give secrecy to
the speech or acts of the other, the young cou-
ple, the conscious subjects of this pro and con,
sit — if they like each other — " coortin' away,
foe the bare life ;" or if, on the contrary, the
match happen to be one of mere speculation and
convenience, got up by the old people, and in-
different to them, they sit, at a shy distance, on
the same form, staring at each other, and half
resolving to upset every arrangement, and, in
recollection of a " boy or girl of their own,"
have every thing their owfl way.
Many there are — ("alas, poor country !")-*—
and those even the greater number, whose ma-
trimonial treaties are arranged without any such
debating ; whose pecuniary resources are almost
confined to the soggartKs fee ; who will be ne-
cessitated to move, by many pitiful stories, his
christian compassion, or will even invent some
melancholy untruth, that he way be induced to
8 PETER OP THE CASTLE.
perform the ceremony at an under price, and
leave them a shilling towards the stock for the
scanty wedding-feast. The rest they trust to
Providence ; and,* sooner than permit the long
Lent to pass over their heads in celibacy, offer
their hands for the manacle with as jovial a
grace, as much precipitancy, and as good a
hope of passing a pleasant honey-moon, as if
they were certain of two days' victuals after the
bridal night, or as if their progeny were to be
the heritors of abundance, kindliness, and com-
fort, not of poverty, neglect, and wretched-
Nor is it the country atmosphere alone that
prompts to matrimonial movements, as the
Shrovetide comes on. The self-same inspiration
pervades the town air. In our considerable
town, at least, Shrovetide is generally under-
stood to mean the season for maids to become
wives, and bachelors to change their con-
There are, we believe, in all such communi-
ties as we speak of, regular visiting folks, of
both sexes, necessary to the comforts of the stay-
at-home part of the population, as carriers of
news, true or false, and circulators of the petty
tattle so acceptable to the ever-craving appetite
P1STER OF THE CASTLE. ' 9
of curiosity, and who are, therefore, welcome
visitors almost wherever they go. Among this
class of persons, elderly maids and bachelors,
possessing small annuities, just sufficient to
keep up a decent appearance out of doors, yet
too scanty for their comfort at home, form a
considerable portion* To them, a cup of tea in
the evening, with, if they be of the male sex, the
addition of a glass of the good beverage, whisky
punch, is very acceptable ; hence, finding it their'
interests to render themselves agreeable, they
take good care to come furnished to the fire-
sides of their friends with ready answers to the
questions most suitable to every season; and
none of them will deny that, as pancake-day
draws near, they find it peculiarly necessary to
keep an eye on the motions, and to dive into
the resolves of the marriageable persons around
them, in order to appear fully prepared for the
universal query — ( * what weddings are going
on ?"— Indeed, and by-the-way, the very kind
of individuals we mean sometimes supply, in
their own persons, and apart from their infor-
mation about others, more direct evidence of the
benign influence of this period. From among
their throng, even maids of long standing and
bachelors of ancient growth, step out »with a
10 PETER OF THE CA8TLE.
Hvelier grace ; wax unusually brisk and mettle-
some; sport new "fronts," selected for the oc-
casion, or new wigs, of the recollected colour of
their locks, what time the mother's care had
smoothed' and polished the boy's ringlets ; and
look about them, and trot in the direction where
fellow-feelings prevail, full of pleasing ideas, and
the half-forgotten music of early life again ting-
ling in their ears ;— and we are happy to add
that, even in their regard, and always consider-
ing them bound to choose among themselves,
the season does not invariably prove inauspi-
Staid citizens, fathers, and uncles, who have
previously taken an account of stock, ascer-
tained the tot of the ledger balance-sheet,
and withdrawn their daughter's or their niece^s
portion from the perils of business, begin to
cast a cautious eye around; make under-hand
inquiries as to how their young male neighs
hours stand in the world, and become close
spies on their actions;- and when a youth of
substance and character is at last selected, their
cordial recognition of him as he passes then-
door, or meets them m the street, or in a
friend's house, is easily interpreted into, " Son-
in-law, how do you do ?"
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 11
Youngish men, who have made improvable
establishments, and to whom the entry, " Stock.
Dr. Cash," would be a pleasing item, divest
their features of their very sober cast, brighten
them up with a holy-day air, employ the most
esteemed fashioners, assume the cavalier, seat
themselves on horseback with as much grace as
is possible, or, if not with grace, at least with
an affected recklessness of the dreaded results
of their new situation ; put " money n* both
pockets," and set off to scour the adjacent
country in search of wires— at a gallop, if they
can attempt it with safety, or even a little
daring; velioctty of movement being esteemed
as most m character with the gaiety of wooers.
But these doughty knights-errant will scarce
ever be seen entering, with their ** God save all
here," where the eld chest or the old cow's horn
is known to be empty. With them, love is " rto
welcome customer," unless he come into the shop
with a money bag on his back, prepared to fling
it on the counter, or pour it into " the till ;" so
laden, they are happy to see him; empty-handed
he may stay outside ; and then any young wo-
man, no great matter whom, burthened in a
similar way, will be as well received* without
12 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
Novelty is a prevailing charm for human
eyes ; and young maidens who have stepped
into a town on market-days, to delight them-
selves with the brilliancy of its shops and its
streets, sometimes prefer, therefore, a towns-
man to a mere rustic sweetheart ; and when
such a one, as has last been described, comes,
careering at a gallant pace towards the farm-
house, in the proper season for such a visit,
they seldom fail to guess the motive of his
journey. The fair and conscious object of at-
traction will, on this occasion, be posted, co-
vertly, at a casement; behind her the vanithee;
still more behind, the nurse; and, over the
shoulders of all, elevated on a three-legged
stool, perhaps the serving wench: each eager
to witness the dashing advance of the candi-
date for favour, and to applaud or criticise, as
the case may be.
If fair young city-virgins now_ observe sig-
nificant movements in the visits of father and
mother out of doors, or become aware, with-
out seeming to be at all aware, that unusual
consultations are going forward, they hope and
trust, and pray, morning and evening, that
from somebody of whom they dreamt the last
All-hallow-Eve, overtures have been received.
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 13
Now serving-maids quit one state of servitude,
only to' enter suddenly upon another, not so
easily to be got rid of at a " warning ;" now
apprentices, commiting a breach of that part
of their indentures which binds them not to
enter the matrimonial state till the expiration
of their long seven years, steal out of an even-
ing, get married, steal back behind the counter
next morning, and out again at a window when
" the shop is shut." Desperate run-away
matches are daily heard of, precipitated by
the not-always-successful endeavours to marry
young people against their inclinations, or else
by the impatient love that despairs of parental
forbearance, and shrinks at the long period of
' privation between " Ash Wednesday" and Easter
As story-tellers, we must be supposed rather
closely to regard human nature, and motives to
action, in order to understand the value of oc-
currences around us; certainly we have learn-
ed to divine, almost to a nicety, the state of
thought indulged, as Shrovetide comes on, by
all our acquaintance, and even by those with
whom we are only casually civil or conversant.
The never-failing, though, perhaps, newly-as-
sumed smile, so soft, so constant, so bewitching,
14 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
of a fair friend ; the manner so determinedly
obliging; these symptoms — particularly if an
emendation upon usual habits — we take as proof
that first preliminaries are arranged for the
grand step ; that she has learned as much from
her parents, and that she is content to venture
upon a new character, before Shrove-Tuesday, if
she can be pleased with an offer.
When, with a short hurried step, indicating a
desire to reach a given point as soon as possible ;
with downcast eyelids, sometimes allowing to
escape around, an unquiet, timid glance, expres-
sive of a certain sensitive fearfulness that people
are looking at her, and speaking of her, as she
goes along ; when, showing these symptoms, a
pretty, modest, flurried little creature crosses
our calm observant path, we at once conclude,
and half sigh with, we believe, a kind of re-
flected pleasure at the conclusion, that she has
yielded, very lately ,-a blushing promise to make
her chosen youth all the happier of this happy
If we see nothing singular, nothing unusual
in a young woman ; nothing but the decently-
measured tread ; nothing but the every-day port,
or only the old smile, common to a handsome
PRTEE OF THE CASTLE. .15
face ; then we judge that matters are not in train
We are quick to discern the sneer which,
more positively than ever, agitates the features
of often-disappointed spinsters, as they descant
on the prospects and pretensions of some who
are about to attain the envied rank of matronly
consideration: and just as quick to note the
proud ostentatious bearing of others of the
same standing, who have been successful in the
grand object of the day, and are at length on
the eve of being of consequence in the world,
notwithstanding the long forebodings of their
friends, and the terrible apprehensions of their
We have learned, on the other hand; to judge
by the more than usual attention to personal
appearances of an industrious youngster ^ by his
studied suavity, and by his skilful disguise of
whatever of the unamiable we have previously
noted in his character, that he is " on the look-
out w From the junction of bustle and brisk-
ness, in another, of hurry and good-humour, of
an important manner, and yet a growing dispo-
sition to say smart things, we set down that he
is preparing his affairs for the spectacled criti-^
16 fcETKB OF THE CASTLE.
cism of some cool examiner who has a fair
charge to dispose of: or, he is taking measures,
perhaps, to leave things in such a train that,
with propriety, he may be absent for a space,
after the ceremony, supposing him of sufficient
consequence to aim at throwing off the good old
custom of wedding-cheer and bridal dance, and,
conformably with the fashionable scale, take a
scamper for the honey-moon to the metropo-
lis, where he can link gentility and pleasure
with business, and (his wife's portion in his
pocket-book,) purchase a fresh stock of goods,
to be home a day or two before he returns to
We know why the sleek new suit is shyly
mounted by him who has worn the former one
time out of mind. We know why the elderly
person, who has waited till about his forty-fifth
year for a meet recurrence of the season, smooths
down his hair with unwonted precision, and is
seen every evening, after the hour of business,
stepping out with — even should there be no
cloud — an umbrella tucked under his arm, and
cautiously entering one certain house.
If we see painters and carpenters, and uphol-
sterers and paper-hangers, going into a bache-
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 17
lor's mansion, they give " notes of prepara*
If a young man of sober habits be detected
with a song-book, or a jest-book laid on the leaf
of his day-book, it is a sign of considerable rest-
lessness at the approaching season. But if such
a person be observed, at the age of thirty, skip-
ping secretly into the private room of a dancing-
master, there can no longer be a question but
that he is about to caper out of the state of
And should we meet, in one of our accustomed
out-let walks," some fair young girl whom we
once knew blooming arid bounding in health,
but now pale, drooping, arid sad ; her eye shorn
of the laughing ray that often flung pleasure
over our path ; her native elastic step changed
into a cheerless drooping gait ; in fact, her
usual appearance and character lost in the dull
languor ' that heart-sickness throws over fea-
tures and person ; should such a being happen
to pass us in our lonely promenade, we conclude
that Shrovetide brings no joy to her ; that either
the youth slie doats on is torn from her, or that
before the season lapses, parental tyranny will
force her into the arms of some wretch she
loaths; that avarice has grasped the shrinking
18 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
hand which would fain yield to the soft pres-
sure of affection; and, instead of the silken
bonds of true-love, that a chain, not the less
ponderous because its links are of gold, is about
to be fastened round the breaking heart ; — from
such a study, such are our conclusions; for,
imitating the enterprise of the bland and de-
lightful Master Crayon, we hare the courage to
proclaim that we, too, are believers in " broken
Shrovetide is the Soggarth's harvest ; his sea-
son of pleasing because most profitable labour;
his draught of fishes ; his time of gathering in
the vineyard. The antique grim-faced knocker
of his door, painted, time out of mind, the colour
of the door itself, sounds, from morning to
evening, many a bold, many a timid, and many
a thundering summons, as the case may be, from
those who come to announce intended weddings,
at which he is, fortunately for him, so indispen-
sable an agent. His housekeeper, — generally
some humble relation, or some " forbidding-
looking ould woman," of whom the very first
view silences the tongue of scandal, and com-
pels peeping suspicion to turn away his keen
eye to some more plausible and inviting object-
such a one, we say, the priest's housekeeper,
PETEE OF THE CASTLE. 19
must be constantly on the alert to answer the
scarcely-heard knock of the poor couple who
come to be married in the parlour, without even
the full fee on such occasions, and who dream
not of bride-cake or wedding-supper; or the
rather bolder peal of those who call to invite the
priest to celebrate the marriage at the house of
the bride's father, damping however the good
man's rising hopes, and the ardour of his assent,
when they add, that " poor people must have
poor weddings;" — and, again, and best of all,
the long-resounding tantarrara which distinctly
prefaces the summons of the wealthy farmer or
citizen, who, with an air of self-importance,
arrives to intimate the coming nuptials of his
daughter, and at whose instance the priest smi-
lingly promises a punctual attendance, antici-
pating rows behind rows of rich folk, each ready
to lay down a pound note, at least, in exchange
for a portion of the magical bride-cake.
If the priest be, to say nothing more, even a
clever man, it will palpably be his business as
well to prevent the possibility of a close ac-
quaintance (unless by authority) between the
sexes, as to promote, so far as in his power lies,
every disposition to enter the holy marriage
state. Accordingly, he must have his eye about
20 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
him; watching the growth of his fair young pa-
rishioners into a marriageable maturity ; glanc-
ing, here and there, for proper husbands to match
them; and then, towards Shrovetide, he may
hint his observations to all parties concerned,
young and old, and conclude the business to the
satisfaction of all, and to his own benefit.
Shrovetide brings grist to the mill of the fol-
lowers of many other trades and occupations.
The pastry-cook, or, to use a more local name,
the confectioner, prepares the dainty bridal cake
for the city wedding. The baker manufactures
the more ponderous mass, " baugheen brigola? —
the loaf or cake with fruit in it, — for the country
feast, at which a crowd is to participate, who
reckon on a good substantial slice for their mo-
ney. Of the former, only small pieces are dis-
tributed, too delicate to be eaten, but sacredly
treasured up to be dreamt upon— (if passed
through the bride's ring, all the better,) — by the
sighing maiden, who hopes, through its talis-
manic power, to conjure round her midnight
couch of virgin innocence the adoring and adored
shade of him, who, under Heaven, may, the very
next Shrovetide, put it in her own power to en-
dow a cake with the same effects, for the benefit
PKTEIT OF THE CASTLE. 21
of her former companions left behind her in the
shadow of the valley of maidenhood.
As it must be pretty certain that a bridegroom
who can get "married in a new suit will not re-
tain his old clothes, tailors' shears are, of course,
kept clipping more constantly than at other sea-
sans ; and, for a like reason, dress-makers of all
grades ply the subtile needle at Shrovetide more
nimbly, and with lighter hearts than, in our
town, they can be said to do at any other time
the year round. Ribands, first, of all colours,
then, as the season closes, white ribands in par-
ticular, flutter out at the vendors* doors in gay
abundance and confusion; and white gloves,
white silks and satins, white muslins, almost
every thing white, in fact, are necessarily in equal
demand. Pipers, fiddlers, itinerant musicians
of every kind, are on the alert, for it is the sea-
son of dancing. Beggars post, in tattered droves,
from one nuptial bower to another, for it is the
season of feasting and bounty. Nay, and some
individuals relinquish more reputable occupa-
tions, but such as, at this season, are less profit-,
able, to join ,the armies, the hordes of mendi-
cants, who, according to ancient custom, will
have shared amongst them the profuse remnants
22 PKTBE OP THE CASTLE.
of the wedding feast, and the largess of the wed-
In a word, Shrovetide, in Ireland, is a time
of unusual stir, bustle, and earnestness; a time
of general consciousness and common sensations;
a time when the thoughts and hearts, male and
female, of a whole community labour and throb
with but one notion, and, however it may be
diversified, one feeling; a time of sighing and
speech-making; of capering, of kissing, of pi-
ping, fiddling, and singing; of present happi-
ness, at least, — (we have nothing to do with the
future) — to almost every one ; and big with in-
terest and importance to the kingdom at large,
although with philanthropic dismay and regret
to Mr. Malthus, and his disciples and students
in political economy.
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 23
We regret that, for particular reasons, we
cannot, as we are used to do, give the name erf
the district in Ireland in which the scene of the
present tale is laid ; but it was near to a village
(that, as we go on, shall be distinguished by
being called the village,) through which, as well
as through the whole adjacent country, the time
of Shrovetide spread its influence, that, about
fifty years ago, standing at his spacious parlour
windows, before dinner, the proprietor of an im-
portant mansion saw, lounging, as if bashfully,
up the avenue, two rustic persons, one an old,
the other a youngish man, whom, at a first view,
he did not know, and for whose uncalled appear-
ance at such an hour, on a working-day, he was
puzzled to account. " Who can they be ?* he
half soliloquized, although another person sat in
the room, — " not Tady Corrigan, surely, with
24 PETER OF THE CASTLE,
the half-years 1 rent ; no, he's scarcely so punctual ;
nor his gossip, Mike Leary, with any part of the
two half-years, so long promised ; yet they walk
straight towards the hall door ; Redmond," turn-
ing to the individual mentioned, a youth of about
twenty, who sat listlessly in a chair at the fire,
and, it might be said, idly too, did not his bent
brow, as he gazed at the embers, his folded
arms, and, indeed, the general expression of his
intelligent features, argue at once a mood of ab-
straction, merely, and a character of which idle-
ness could have been no natural portion. " Red-
mond, who are those people ?"
The young man slightly started, looked va-
cantly around, and in a cold tone, asked,
" Where, Sir ?" His elderly companion as coldly
directed his regards out at the window ; the
youth, scarcely rising or glancing down the
avenue, said he did not know who they were.
" I think one of them is Patt Lynch, that
bought the timber of Kilaldy wood last week.
How much of that account has he left unpaid,
Sir?" again addressing the lad.
" Who, Sir ? what account ? — *
With some cautious asperity, and a remark
that his thoughts might, perhaps, be better en-
gaged, and yet sufficiently alive to afford more
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 25
attention, the senior renewed his statement and
his question ; but still gained little information,
The youth was sorry to say, he really knew no-
thing of the state of that particular account ;
indeed, to tell the truth, he believed he had
quite lost all recollection of it.
The catechist frowned, askance and unseen,
at him, bit his lip, and retorted in a measured
tone, — " Nor of any other business, I fear, Sir,
which I have trusted into your hands ; nor of
any other matter, Sir, fitted to your precarious
situation in life; to your pretensions or your
" What that situation, and those pretensions
really are, Sir, you know best," answered the
person thus animadverted upon, coolly and
gloomily, and laying an expressive emphasis on
the word " really ."
" I do, young gentleman," said the other,
nodding slowly at him,—" and, for the pur-
pose of rousing you to a due sense of the
efforts you are bound to make in the world, 1:
have been compelled, much against my nature,
and my feelings for you, to explain, over and
over, that delicate question."
" And I have been thinking, all this morn-
ing, of asking you to explain it once again, . Sir,
vol. in. c
26 PETEE OF THE CASTLE.
when you may be at leisure to give me a little
more information. »
" Indeed, Sir ?" with another unseen sneer —
" but no matter ; I am at your service at all
times ; and, perhaps, the sooner we conclude the
subject the better for both.*
" Perhaps," said the lad:—" and now, Sir,"
drawing to the window, " I can tell you who
those poor men are ; Darby Roach, and his el-
dest son, who rent the fifty hill-acres from you
" What, in Heaven's name, brings them here
to-day? — no whining case of hardship, I hope:
and now, what ails them ?" — for, as he spoke, the
old man, Darby Roach, having at last come near
enough to recognize the amply-puffed and highly
powdered head of " the masther," in the par-
lour window, strongly contrasted as it was to a
complete suit of black, worn, wjth rather a pro-
fessional air, over a middle-sized, substantial
figure; Darby, werepeat, having distinctly caught
this indication that the very eyes of the great
person he wanted to see were fastened on him, first
stopped to make a scrape and bow, to pull off
his hat, and put it on again; then tuddenly
changed his hitherto lounging gate into a quick
one, which, gradually increasing as he approached
the house, at last ended in a run, as brisk as
PETEE OF THE CASTLE. 27
any man oi sixty could command upon occasion.
His son, as he has been described, remained be.
hind him, holding his hat in his hand, and look-
ing on the ground with a bashful and conscious
Sweeping by the steps of the hall door,
the father soon presented himself outside
the window, and, stopping there, renewed his
scrapes and bows, now addressed to both the
gentlemen in the parlour, and accompanied by
broad grins, of such a kind as bespoke earnest-
ness in a very interesting and, withal, a very
" Well, honest Darby, and what's the matter
with you to-day ?" said "the masther," answer-
ing his looks and motions, rather than asking a
question. The old man grew serious.
" Why, then, your honour, nothin* at all;
only it's what sends us to you, to-day, is about a
gor^oon of ours, an* somethin' that's goin' to hap-
pen to him, we' believe."
" Well ?— - 1 thought, just now, when you
both looked so troubled, that something had
happened to him ; that, perhaps, Cushneiche #
and the Yellow Sailor had paid you a visit, and
borrowed all you had towards the next gale
28 F£T£K OF THE CASTLE.
day ;"— alluding to the leader and subaltern of a
celebrated gang of highwaymen and house rob-
bers, then the terror of the surrounding coun-
" No, then, Sir ; nothing o' the kind ; an 1 if
Cushneiche came, may be he wouldn't rise the
thrifle so asy."
" Then Dick has got into some scrape or
" Throth no, Sir ; no scrape in life ; only —
Ristharde !" — calling and beckoning to his son,
— " only, your honour, it 's where we war comhV
this mornin, was to ax your adwice on the head
o' getting the goryoon we tould you of — mar-
red ;" letting the word at last slip out, half in
confidence, half shyly, as it were.
" Oh; which of the lads do you mean,
" Musha, then, Sir, the boy is to the fore,
only the shyness arf the shame wotft let him
show himself forenent you :— -Ristharde f* rais-
ing his voice, and increasing his gesticulation —
" Musha, Ristharde ! you ownshuck o'the di-
vil, come here, I tell you." -
Slowly and sheepfacedly advanced Ris-
tharde, a big man (notwithstanding his father's
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 29
appellation) of more than thirty years of age,
clad in his working clothes, much the worse of
the wear ; loosely wrapped in the great blue
Irish top-coat ; and still holding his head down,
and twirling his " caubeen" between his hands.
He seemed fresh out of the mire of a fallow-
field lately drenched in rain; his attire, his
brogues, his gigantic hands, crusted with the
soil ; nay, however he had contrived it should
happen, his strong, " raven hair v had also be-
come smeared and clotted with wet clay, which,
either from profuse perspiration, or a smart
shower, subsequently resolved itself into a
liquid state, and now ran in streaks down his
face. Bashfully, we have said, this graceful
bridegroom came on at his father's repeated
summons ; apparently as bashful, indeed, as a
green-horn of seventeen placed in the same situ-
ation, and feeling himself, from tender years and
unimportance in the world, unfitted to it ; yet
some of this excessive modesty and mopishness
might not have been quite so natural to Ris-
tharde as he was willing people should think.
" Ha, Dick — so, you are for a change ?" —
resumed " the masther," when " the boy" was at
last " to the fore."
30 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
" Sorrow 's the much myself knew about it.
Sir," answered Ristharde, " until about half an
hour agone, when my father came into the field,
an 1 tould me it was all settled, an' axed me to
throw down the spade an' go with him, face to
face, to the colleen herself, an' stop a start on
the road, an' tell you the news, Sir. 4 "
" Well; I'm obliged by your visit; but do
you think you are fine enough, Dick, for your
other visit, — to the sweetheart?"
" Sorrow a bit but I think I am, Sir ; sure
we won't be for cajoulin the poor colleen with
the Sunday clothes on us, but let her see us as
we are, in the week days, for the year round."
" Very fair and honourable. Who is the girl,
" Musha, Sir, she's the daughter o'one Mickle
Tobin, Sir : a clane, clever colleen, though we
say it that shouldn't," answered Darby : " a girl
o'tbe Tobins; the Tobins o'the Hill; dacent
people ; an' as nate a girl as ever dhruv a slip of a
pig to a fair: sure your honour knows them we
" I do; you speak of Kitty Tobin, foster-
sister to Mr. Redmond, here ?"
" No doubt bud you have her, Sir ; the
self same for all the world : an' so, Sir" — he
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 31
stopped, looked down, then askance on Ris-
tharde, and, sidling to him, began to eljbow the
bridegroom to speak for himself.
" Musha, asy, father, asy," whispered Ris-
" Asy, yoUy I tell you, you big bosthoon,"
Darby broke out, " an' tell Square Pratt, wid
your own ugly mouth, what 's the rason 6* your
comin'' here at all."
" Why, then, just to ax his honour's par-
don for giving him the invite to the wedding
God bless him; atf what else \id bring me
here?" at last said Ristharde, courageously.
"Yes, your honour, that's it, " added Dar-
by, bowing and grinning.
" Well, Dick, 1 11 be your guest."
" Thankee, Sir, an* long life to you : an' the
young misthress, Sir,— God preserve her kind
heart an* her comely face ! — Miss Nelly, Sir-
sure you wouldn't be for lavin her but, when
it 's to her, above all the ladies in the parish,
poor Kitty 'ill be comitf, I 'm thinkin', for some
o' the convaniencies o' the white dhress, an' other
things, for the weddin 1 ? musha, our hearts \id
be heavy without her."
" Miss Pratt will be happy to oblige you and
Kitty, in any way, I answer for't, Dick. v
32 PETEE OF THE CASTLE.
« Thankee again, Sir;* put in Darby; " an'
sure we Ye thryin' to get her aq'ls, at laste, to
sit forenent her, Sir, at the weddin'; there's
the sthrange lord's daughther— it's a lord, or
barrow-knight, or somethin' after that manner, I
believes they calls him— an' she's his daughther,
or a sisther's child, any how ; — there's her, Sir,
that was so good to us, along wid Miss Nelly,
when your honour stayed that long start out o' the
counthry, an' when the sickness, an' the throu-
ble of every kind was in the poor cabin ; an'
sure, tho' it 's not our right, as any of her te-
nants or her people, to ax the convanience, she
won't refuse us, out of a good heart, for as
lofty and as grand as she is."
" Choose your guests as you like, Darby ; we
go to oblige you."
" Och, no fear o' that, Sir — an' there 's the
ould sthrange lord himself, if we could get a
hoult of him, 'ud be fit for your own honour to
make up to — but, musha, little chance of it,
he's so shy o'comin' out, an' so fond of his
books, we hear."
" Then the old count still persists in the life
of seclusion and bad neighbourhood, which he
led before I last went to Dublin, Darby."
" Musha, Sir, more and more; sence the
PBTEB OF THE CASTLE. 33
night he come among us, afther buying the
estate, now two years agone, come next Asther,
down to this blessed day, not a neighbour, or a
neighbour's child ever set eyes on him, I blieve,
barrin' a gorcoon that might be for climbin' up
the garden wall of an evenin', an' so had a peep
at his honour, walkin' up an' down, or hiding
in a summer-house in the corner. But no help
for that. Hard to dhraw blood from a turnip ;
an' there's as good fish in the sey as ever was
caught. Sir; an' so, if your honour has no
demur to Masther Redmond, there, he'll be
handy by you, at any rate, an' is'n't to be left
out for the wide world. "
"Mr. Redmond answers for himself: — Red-
mond, what do you say ?"
During the latter part of this dialogue, the
person spoken to had turned to the mantel-piece,
and, leaning his arm on it, relapsed into a fit of
abstraction. Now quietly looking up, he asked
to have the question renewed ; it was accord-
ingly put, a second time, in the best possible
shape, by Darby and Ristharde together ; but
the young man answered he was sorry he could
not attend. While, with half-closed eyes, Mr.
Pratt looked askance at Redmond, as if to make
out the motive of. a refusal not to have been an-
34 PETER OF THE CA8TLE.
ticipated, the bridegroom and his father poured
forth together, a loud, affectionate, and plaintive
remonstrance. But with no effect. The youth
persisted in a polite denial ; and not even the
reminding him that " sure Kitty was his own
fosther-sisther," could induce him to withdraw
it. So, after naming the evening, one a week
off, upon which they hoped to see Mr. and Miss
Pratt at their nuptial feast, Darby and Ris-
tharde bowed themselves away from the window,
in a manner that showed much disappointment
and sorrow at their last failure.
But before the reader is introduced to the rustic
wedding, partly as humble preparation for which
the first chapter has been written, he will please
to follow, with us, the closing of the present
evening in Mr. Pratt's house. .
After the suitors had withdrawn, the young
man resumed his leaning and thoughtful position
at the mantel-piece, and Mr. Pratt continued to
stand, his back half turned to him, at the open
window, looking out upon his ample lawn, as if
mentally occupied too. Neither spoke a word ;
and, for some time, neither moved. At last,
while Redmond still remained motionless, his
companion turned from the window to an escri-
toire, unlocked and opened it, and sat down, at
PETER OF THE CASTLE. &5
if no one had been present, to look over some
papers. Candles were brought in ; and again
there was a silence, not broken until a ser-
vant, in modest though rich livery, appeared at
the door to announce dinner. Both gentlemen
roused themselves, and issued into the drawing-
4C Miss Pratt keeps her chamber, and we dine
alone, Redmond," Said Mr. Pratt, as he sat to
" Is Miss Pratt so ill, Sir ?" asked Redmond,
with the only interest of manner that day ob-
servable in him*
" Only a slight headache ; nothing serious ; r
and dinner went on in silence. It was over;
the servant motioned out of the room ; and
Mr. Pratt, after filling his glass, pushed the de-
canter to Redmond.
" I'm not inclined to drink wine this evening,
Sir," pushing it back.
" Indeed ? that 's a new resolution, Red-
" It is, Sir ;" his head was down as he said
this ; Mr, Pratt measured him with one of his
peculiar looks, but added nothing. When he
^was about to fill his glass a second time, " Red-
mond," he continued, " I didn't think you would
96 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
have refused to oblige these poor people to-day ;
may I ask why you cannot accompany us to
their little wedding ? Something of the same
reason that keeps you from the glass of good
claret, I suppose."
" Much the same, Mr. Pratt : but let us end
this cross-questioning; I'm tired of it. The
plain fact is, Sir, I cannot feel, after your infor-
mation of yesterday, that I have a right any
longer to revel it at other people's cost, as hi-
therto I have done : and indeed my resolution
is almost taken to withdraw myself from this
place, and try to fashion out, with my own
hands, whatever lot I am doomed to, rather
than live— — "
His voice sunk, and he stopped. His com-
panion was silent a moment, and then spoke.
u What is the matter with you, Redmond P—
I '11 not say you deal unkindly by any one in
indulging in these fancies; but what do you wish
me to do? Could I — you force me to ask the
question— could I have better discharged my
duty to you, from your childhood to the pre-
sent hour ? — At school, and at college, you had
the allowance, as well as the education of a
" I know it, Sir, I know it, and am not for-
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 87
getful ; but with the secret you kept from me,
and half of which you still keep, perhaps all
that attention was as injudicious as kind. Yes,
the education and, for the moment, the mainte-
nance of a gentleman, without the claims of one ;
that I experienced/'
" And why not the claims of one, Redmond ?
The most obscure individual may, in these
happy countries, rationally propose to himself
the attainment of the rank and character of a
gentleman: to talents, honour, and industry, no
elevation is denied; besides, as my adopted
son " ,
" Mr. Pratt," interrupted the youth, " tell
me, in one word, why must I not inquire of
you the real name and situation of the man
whom you say was my father? why am I left
a prey to the horrible doubts your refusal starts
in my mind?"
" Now, Redmond, you are in an uneven hu-
mour, because, on some late occasions, I thought
it my duty to press a renewal of your studies in
the honourable profession your own early bias
preferred, and of which, in my early manhood, I
was, myself, no disreputable member : but, per-
haps, I should call your boyish turn for the bar
a fancy, or a whim, rather than settled inclines
8$ PETEB OF THE CASTLE.
tion : or, perhaps, the discovery that Blackstone
" Pardon me, Sir ; what you insist upon as
the cause of my present uneven temper, as you
call it, I do not waste a thought about ; when-
ever you exhorted me to be studious, I felt you
meant me well ; and that was all. Fray tell me,
Mr. Pratt, tell me this, at least — was my parent
as poor as you say he was unfortunate ? — am I
absolutely bounden to your charity for my edu-
cation and bringing up ?"
" I have before satisfied you on that head,
Redmond : when, before his death, your father
committed — that is— sent you to my care, he
also had conveyed into my hands a sum of mo-
ney sufficient for sending you to school and col-
lege, as you ought to be sent, with an overplus
of about a thousand pounds to assist you in a
" Then he was not * unfortunate,' Sir, from a
very mean lot or station, at least ? did he hold
the rank of a gentleman, Mr. Pratt P had he
lands, or a profession, or was he in business ?"
" Answers to these questions you must ex-
cuse my giving, Redmond."
" Again, Sir, I ask— I demand, why ?"
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 99
" For your own sake— for your own peace of
mind and respectability."
" Respectability ! — Sir, you ought to explain,
now at least — what, Sir J— either my father or
myself, then— oh ! for God's sake, Mr. Pratt,
relieve me of this torture — perhaps — perhaps,
Sir, my birth was dishonourable ?— legally and
morally dishonourable ?"
" I do not believe it was."
" Then to know who my father was— -and to
have it known I am his son— Maf would destroy
my peace of mind and respectability? — that is
the meaning of your term c unfortunate'— my
father was unfortunate through his own fault
— through crime— depravity ?"
" Redmond, it will be useless to continue
your questions, in any shape, or however modi-
" But, Sir, your silence leaves me to imply,
as fully as your explanation could, what you
would have me believe he was."
" What I would have you believe, boy ? —
the language you use to me is new."
(t Perhaps, Sir ; but there are new reasons
u Ay, indeed P
40 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
" Sir, I do not believe my father committed
acts that could disgrace me, his son."
" And I have never said he did."
" But, Mr. Pratt, I remark again that you
leave me to imply as much:— and now pray
hear me on. Why, until within these few days,
did you lead me to understand that I was
the son of a relation, dead in the West In-
" For the very reason that now ties up my
tongue as to the positive identity and character
of your parent: and I was surprised out of my
retraction of that story, Redmond — you had
vexed me by your persevering idleness and in-
attention to my wishes, and I told you so much
of the truth as you know, in order to spur
your pride and vanity to a manly exertion;
now I must regret having been so imprudent,
and having given you so much unnecessary
" Then, Sir, I am in no degree related to
" In no degree."
" And you persist, Mr. Pratt, in withhold-
ing from me my real condition, my father's real
condition, when he lived — my real name, in fact
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 41
—I am not even to receive, at your hands, the
poor justice of "
" Foolish boy, curb your passion, and cor-
rect youlr language. Listen to me. It was
your father's last request, conveyed to me ."
" Conveyed to you, Sir ? and I was commit-
ted to your care ? — did you know my father ? —
were you personally acquainted with him ?"
" I never saw him."
" Indeed, Sir ? and how, then, may I ask,
did he come to select you as my — guardian ? v
u Through a mutual friend."
•« What is that friend's name, Sir?"
" It were useless to inform you ; for he, too,
M You, then, Mr. Pratt, are singly acquaint-
ed with this mystery of my parentage ?"
" I do not believe any other human being
shares it with me."
" And are absolutely determined to hold it
to yourself, Sir ?"
" Immoveably determined. Listen, I say.
It was your parent's last request that his sta-
tion, character, family, and even name, should
for ever be concealed from his son."
" And that, too, Sir, I take leave to doubt : v
the young man rose from the table, pale, and
42 PETEE OF THE CASTLE.
his eye and manner indicating a strong and ob-
stinate purpose : he had advanced a few steps,
as if to address himself to Mr. Pratt in such a
way as could not be resisted, and that gentleman,
also rising, had answered his last remark with,
— " Impertinent and imprudent boy, what do
you mean ?" — when, suddenly, the youth check-
ed himself; drew his hand across his face;
paused ; and when he at last spoke, tears were
in his eyes, and his broken voice sounded in
supplication rather than threat.
" Imprudent I am, Sir, and was about to be
more so ; but now I implore you to listen to me :
— I have said new reasons had occurred for my
present mood ; let me tell you some of them.
You knew of my chance meeting with Count
CTRuark, in consequence of which, though
scarce ever permitted into his company, he in-
vited me to use his grounds, in shooting or
coursing, and his. library for reading ; you know
how very pleasant, nay, how dear, those privi-
leges were to me; well, Sir; yesterday, just
before your most painful intimation, I received
from the Count this note :" he produced one,
and read aloud, as follows : —
" Count O'Ruark was very happy to have
thrown open his house to Mr. Redmond Red-
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 48
mond, as a slight return for the personal service
received at Mr. Redmond's hands, so long as he
remained ignorant that a certain imputation had
been thrown upon Mr. Redmond's birth— which
imputation — (for Count CTRuark is a plain-
dealing man,) — it will be well to remove before
Mr. Redmond again makes his compliments to
any of the family at Pleasant- view."
After reading this note, both remained silent
" Whatever the old misanthrope has heard, 1 '
at length resumed Mr. Pratt, u must be a false
and weak rumour ; for, as I before told you,
Redmond, no second person alive, that I know
of, except myself, could have circulated the
truth ; and if I refuse to satisfy you on the sub-
ject, it is pretty evident I am not likely to sa-
" I did not mean, Sir, to accuse you of being
the author of this report, whatever it is ; I could
not mean so ; but thus, you see, the case stands:
without your concurrence or knowledge, an un-
defined slur is cast upon^me ; the real history of
my birth and parentage would at once enable
me to crush the slander — I am assured it would
—the blood that runs to throb full at my heart
when I speak the word, tells me as much. — Im-
44 PETER OF THE CA8TLE.
part to me, then, that real history : I implore
your assistance, Sir, as a benefit, a mercy ; I ask
it as an act of humane justice."
" Are you sure, Redmond, my compliance
would enable you to accomplish your pur-
" Heaven and earth, Sir ! that means it would
not — it confirms the Count's note — it gives au-
thority for other slights — sneers, whispers, and
winks, which, from time to time, I have encoun-
tered, particularly in that paltry village, yonder ;
—it says, you too believe I am the son of a de-
graded man I— does it, Mr. Pratt, does it ?"•—
the dark side of his temper again lowered out,
and again he advanced, frowning and threat-
" Redmond, I shall never answer another
query on the present subject. v
"Answer this then!" cried Redmond, snatch- ,
ing out of his bosom the fragment of another
letter, — " but first, Sir, let me remind you
of a few things. Your excellent wife, Mrs.
Pratt, has now been dead about two years, as I
u About two years,* muttered the other, his .
side-long look trying to fix the scrawl that Red-
mond kept closed in his grasp.
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 45
" And you were in Dublin when she died in
this house, Sir ?"
A cold assent was given.
" And received letters from her, while in
Dublin, written upon her death-bed, in this
house ? yi
" What can you mean, Sir ?" advancing upon
him. " What ! have you been spying and pil-
laging among my papers, youngster ?"
"Spying and pillaging, Mr. Pratt! — Sir,
this is new phraseology, indeed, from your lips,
your guarded, prudent, and bland lips, — quite
a new view of ypur character "
" Puppy, cur— give me that paper !" cried
Mr. Pratt, suddenly stamping his way to him,
while his eyes flashed and his lips quivered.
" Are you really so anxious to possess it,
Sir? And does its sight make you so pale and #
tremulous? You cannot get it yet, however,
until you hear — first, how it came into my pos-
session — next, 'till you hear me read it. I did
not spy among your papers, Mr. Pratt; I did
not — (how proudly and contemptuously my na-
ture repels the charge—-)"
•" It need not, however, quite so proudly, 1 '
interrupted the elder, now restored to his self-
46 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
" Explain your meaning there, Sir !— explain,
this moment P
" Tut, silly boy," turning from him as he
advanced, and taking a chair.
" Well, Sir, then hear me go on. This scrap
of a letter I found, but a few hours ago, near to
where you had been sitting to your escritoire,
in the parlour. I picked it up, to place it out
of the hantls of the servants; in doing so, my
own name — the name you have chosen to give
me, I should rather say— struck my eye, in
your wife's handwriting; a natural and, I hope,
excusable curiosity prompted me to run over the
lines, and then I read what I now read to you :
'tis but a part of a letter, Sir, and seems the
conclusion of one; — there is no clue to the first
few words, which, however, are * could have died
in poverty, much happier;' but afterwards, Sir,
we have an almost unbroken sentence. — c Yes,
Joshua, on my death-bed, and about to face
my God, nothing distresses my soul but the
wrong done to this poor Redmond: my only
hope and comfort is, that while you live you
will be a father to him, and, ere you find your-
self in my present situation, insure to him, by a
legal act, all that you believe to be his right :
perhaps Heavep would allow another mode of
PETER OJF THE CASTLE. 47
arrangement, without injury to our own child ;
perhaps she and he * here, Sir, the scrap
ends; now s , can you explain it? Now, will
you yield me the satisfaction I have hitherto
vainly begged for ?"
" 1 believe, indeed, I must, Redmond, though
for your own sake, I wish this necessity had not
occurred for doing so: the prospect of being
compelled to answer your questions, when just
now I saw the paper in your hands, threw me
off my guard, and, I can assure you, exclu-
sively on account of your individual interests,
caused me to express myself in a manner I must
regret. But come ; let us to the point, at last;
my confession now becomes indispensable in
order to protect my own character from suspi-
cions that your hasty interpretation of the lines
may render probable ; wait here a moment ; I
will instantly return."
He took a light ; left the dining-room with a
composed step ; entered the parlour, and soon
returned, holding a torn letter*in his hand.
" To give you full satisfaction, Redmond, let
us first read the whole of the letter, of which
that scrap is a part; ay, here it is; pray, just
lay your morceau to this torn edge, that we may
judge if any words are missing on either side."
48 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
Redmond, allowing this request, stepped to the
table, and applied his slip to the torn letter;
and, while in the act of doing so, Mr. Pratt sud-
denly snatched it from between his fingers, and
flung it into the blazing chimney, where, in a
second, it was ashes, saying — " There, good
Redmond — I beg your pardon— but that is the
most charitable way to settle the question."
The young man stood fixed in consternation/
Surprise at such an act from a man whose cha-
racter, until within a few days past, he had from
childhood respected, tended, as much as his feel-
ings with regard to himself, to keep him some
moments silent. But he at length found words.
" Well, Mr. Pratt ; now, at least, I believe
you have reasons, other than those yielded to
me, for your caution. Now, Sir, I firmly believe
you have slandered the memory of my unknown
father ; and, to quote your wife's dying words,
wronged my father's son."
" Don't be a fool, Redmond ; think and be-
lieve what you like, but keep respectful lan-
guage. You are dependant upon me."
" I can keep no respectful language for the
man whose assertions and character I have proof
are false and dishonourable ; and I am not de-
pendant upon you, Sir. Passing your story of a
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 49
thousand pounds given to you, for my education
and so forth, I am convinced I am not your deb-
tor, so far : lest I should be, in future, we part
—part this moment, and for ew.~ w
" Insolent fool ! — be not as rash as you are
ungrateful and saucy.— Part ? why, where would
you go ? where, except to enlist with Cushneiche,
on the mountains ?"
" Wherever I go, it shall be from under a
roof that, in honour, and with a due respect
for myself, should no longer shelter me."
" Though after all your fine proud blood,
Master Redmond, it may be hail-fellow-well-met,
between ye,* muttered Mr. Pratt, as if only fol-
lowing up his own last speech.
" What do you say, there again, Sir? what
dreadful and mysterious insult dare you insinu-
" Yes, Sir, dare— " Hestepped forward; Mr.
Pratt rose to ring the bell — " But spare yourself
any apprehension, Sir ; I despise to repeat the
word ; we part, I say ; some other evidences of
my father's identity may, perhaps, be found,
notwithstanding your stories, Mr. Pratt."
" Silly fellow, stay where you are : when you
discover — if you ever can— who and what that
VOL. III. D
50 .PETER OF THE CASTLE.
father was, you may congratulate yourself but
little; on your success."
" Hell and devils!" exclaimed Redmond,
seizing him, " you shall tell me that who and
what before I leave you."
" Madman, let toe go, or take the conse-
quence in an answer that will curse you."
" I will not! — speak away f— let me be
curst, if I am to be so -^ speak, Sir ! w
j " Hearken, then^-" as the young man began
to treat him rudely* " your father was, I be-
lieve, a common robber, and died, I hope, at
the hands of the law." e .
The doleful. scream of a man's voice, burst-
ing from Redmond? instantly echoed through
the house; and, a moment after, the young
man .had broke away from Mr. Pratt, flinging
him some yards distant, and was bounding down
the avenue, night and storm, as black and ve-
hement as his own passion, gathering around
?ETER OF THE CASTLE. 51
Me. Pratt stood , pale and shaking after
the agitation, and, indeed, the violence he had
undergone, when, as if summoned by the cry
that, as has been said, rung through the man-
sion, a light figure of a girl, dressed in white
muslin, glided to the open parlour door, and
there checking herself, stood with clasped hands,
looking in upon him. Almost at the same mo-
ment, another person, a tall, middle-aged man,
clothed in shabby black, and having a flaming
red face, and vulgar features, appeared behind
her, easily peeping over the girl's shoulders,
and* also directing his glances, — which, as any
one might suppose, were filled with a simple, ho-
nest anxiety — towards Mr. Pratt. At the first
sound of their approach, that gentleman roused
himself; with a quick step walked to the door,
52 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
and, as he took the young lady's hand to lead
her in, said to her companion —
" After him, Cotteril ; follow the silly boy,
and- bring him back instantly." Cotteril, with
an expression of great devotion, and as if his
simple nature was half convinced of the import-
ance of his commission, was moving off. " Stop;
tell him I forgive all his rudeness and insult, and
promise him a full explanation, if he will but re-
turn this moment; — tell him, too, that what I
last said is not to be minded ; that he compelled
me to say something as a punishment for his in-
temperance; — quick, Bill — and harkee"— he
quitted his fair charge a moment, who instantly
sank into a chair ; stepped out to Cotteril, whis-
pered two or three sentences, which the man met
by his usual affectation of good-nature and sim-
plicity, and then closing one eye leisurely, as a
token of comprehension, he plodded away. Mr.
Pratt took a seat by the girl's side,— " Now,
what is the reason of this, Ellen ?" he began ; —
" you know such agitation is as dangerous to
you as it is indelicate."
" Father, ,v she answered, trembling, and
looking as white as her floating dress, " could I
have helped it ? after getting my wretched secret
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 53
from me, as, by kindness and commands together
you have done, would you expect me to remain
up stairs, alone, and uninformed about him
and you, when I heard his terrible outcry, and
saw him, from my window, rushing down
the avenue ? — Oh, Sir, what has happened ? —
Where has he gone at this time of night ! "
" Well, my dear child," taking her hand, " I
should not have been so surprised at your ap-
pearance, but 1 forgot a little ; my temper and
nerves were shaken; and nothing of importance
has happened. You know Redmond is hasty at
times, when his dark nature sends out a flash ;
and while I was again urging him to exert him.
self in the way that his time of life now makes
imperative, he answered me sullenly, and, as I
thought, disrespectfully. I retorted, which I
should not have done; he quite lost his self-
command ; very harsh language ensued between
us ; and at last he left the house in a fit of inde-
pendence, I suppose ; and that's all. Don't look
so frightened, Ellen ; Cotteril will soon bring
him back ; I am ready to forgive him, and the
morning will see us as happy as ever."
" God send it, Sir," was her only reply, ex-
cept that showers of tears now relieved her pre-
54 PITER OF THE CASTLE.
" Yes, my love, all shall go on well ; nothing
shall harm our poor Redmond, silly and thought-
less as he is ; for your sake I can pardon him
a worse extravagance ; so, cheer up, Nelly, cheer
" Sir," after a pause, and trying to check
her tears, " your goodness to him — to us both-^-
is not the only thing required for my happiness
— I believe, I fear it is-not"
" Then, only tell me what else."
" And I begin to think— oh, Sir, I am sure—
that I ought, if I regard my own respectability—
to say nothing of my peace of mind— endeavour
— to-*-" fresh tears fbflowed.
" To what, my child? speak up plainly to
your father, as you have ever done ; it will be
best for all parties. Did your dear mother
live, I should never think of winning or desiring
your confidence on so delicate a subject ; but
lonely and-p-but for each other— companionless
as we stand in the world, our hearts ought to be
fully shared together ; speak, Ellen, and you
will find me try, with a woman's delicacy, joined
to a father's interest, to fill your mother's place.
Come, now, what would you tell me ?"
" What I am ashamed and humiliated, as well
as choked, to tell, Sir — what, girl and lady as I
PETER OF THE CASTLE* 55
*m, I ought to die sooner, than acknowledge with
one tear; yet they will come. Oh, Sir* after all
your kindness, indulgence* and eocouragemfctit
to my foolish feelings Redmond does not love,
does not care for your poor Ellen."
" Pho, child, is that all ? Come, I know
better ; I have experience in affairs of the heart,
among men at least, and;>£ coin my observation
of the boy, you teH aa idle story. Do you
think, Ellen, I *ould> have enoouraged fed-
ings that (tender and delicate- as youtt constitu*
don is) must, if disappointed, injure; yon,: unless
I became assured fof Redmond Vjinchnations f^
This much, you may haye observed.! From a
sense of what he supposes a dependant (situation*
wording oa a proud and, sometimes, a .dark
heart, but certainly a noble nature, the, lad en-
deavours, no doubt, to hide his sentiments : he
must not aspire, bethinks, to the child of his
benefactor, and of a man high in the world;
but, let him alone; we shall find means, without
•compromising your dignity, my love, to give
him more confidence "
" I think little, Sir, of such appearances as
you describe ; I have never seen them, on they
escaped my remark; that is not it at all; Red-
mond loves another lady."
56 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
"Absurd, Ellen; the ravings of some of
the little tortures of a sweet girl's first love.
What other? what lady? he is not even
acquainted with another: whom can you
" Miss D'Arnell, the foreign lady at Plea-
" Why, he does not know her, or scarcely
knows her ; they may, indeed, have met in the
library of the old eccentric Count, or on her
walks, but could not have exchanged a word to-
gether: she is always attended by her bonne, her
governess, her duenna, you know; and then
she is so high, so lofty; you have, yourself, told
me so ; he durst not have thought of her."
" He loves, father — I cannot be deceived in
tfyat ; every thing he says or does, for the last
year, assures me ; he loves — and not Ellen."
" My dear Nelly, 'tis a mistake ; Redmond
has it not in his nature to be an inconstant,
and you know how truly he has sighed for you
since you were children."
" I thought so ; but now believe I have Wen
" What ! not credit his own words ? Has he
not often whispered it, my child?"
" Never, since we were children, almost. Oh,
FJ&TttJl OF THE CASTLB. 57
Sir, we grew up in a sad. mistake together. The
servants, your friends, nay, Sir, yourself taught
us, by simple words — silly ones— such as I am
ashamed that I remember — to consider ourselves,
even when infants, as— 'tis foolish indeed, y«t I
do remember it — as particular friends. After
that, while we read, and learned, and rode,
and ran about together, mere boy and girl, he
used to repeat the absurd phrases he had heard,
and I— for I believe, girls know soonest the
meaning of such words — I thought more of them
than Redmond. But never, since his parting
for college at fifteen, never did he repeat this
kind of nonsense."
" No, love ; because, upon his return, he had
learned to think a little, and his respect and awe
checked his former little freedoms."
" Because he had learned to think, Sir, I
know ; think, and correct his childish error. Do
not tell me, dear father ; had he loved under the
deepest disguise of reserve, I must have, seen
it ; for, I blush to tell you, Sir, I watched him
closely; through fear, awe, indifference, cold-
ness, I had surely found out his love for me.
No, -Sir ; kind, tender of my weak state of health,
and frank and friendly as a brother, Redmond
has been ever Since, — nothing more. Nothing
58 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
more, until within the last year, when, after the
Count invited him to Pleasant View, he met
Miss D'ArneU— and oh, father* he could not
help adoring her J She and I have saluted each
other, and spoken an occasional word, upon our
chance meetings in the cabins of one or two of
your poor tenants; and this much I will allow
—she is a queen, a goddess'! I allow mare*— she
is better suited, by nature and natural qualities
of mind, if not of heart, to win and meet Red-
mond's high spirit, than your poor, weak,
trembling Ellen." As she again wept, her head
fell on her father's shoulder.
At this moment, as he was about farther tore-!
ply, the red face and tall awkward figure of Cot-
teril reappeared at the parlour door ; Mr. Pratt
removed her head, rose up, and, perceiving the
man alone, faced him with his back to Ellen, and
gave him a significant wink as he demanded an
account of his mission. *
" All sthraight an' fair, Sir, as a body
might say, afther a manner," replied -Cotteril,
speaking, as the neighbours termed it, in the ut-
most touchiness* of accent, as he returned his mas-
ter's signal : " I seen (he young masther,asyour
honour bid me, an 9 discoorsed him too, the poor
* This word has many meanings — one of them good-'
PKTBB DP THE CAST LE> 59
young slob, an* never fear him, but he'ihbe here
in a jiffy ; only he ■ tould me to *ay that, as it
was so late, he>d take *a bed in the .Tillage, for
the rest o^ the night, astf see your honour, an'
Miss Nelly , iskxl bless her, at the tey an* iaoBst,
in the mornin/ *?
" There, love, you hear that/' said Un;
Pratt, reapproaching his daughter,- and again
taking her hand ; " and come, now, and let me
lead you towards your chamber; you require
sleep and rest, Ellen."
" I do indeed, father," as she arose to walk
out at the door— ^ but will sleep and rest come
when they are most wanted, Sir ?* • • .
" Ellen, " resumed rh^rv>&ther, stopping, to
speak in an earnest whisper, «i the passage,
u you know that while I; lose; you as tenderly
as ever a widowed father loved an orphan child,
I am a man of some sense, and understand
what I say before I say it; therefore attend
to me; this boy loves you, notwithstand-
ing all your whims, and, if you bave no great
objection, shall make you his wife. Good nighty
my love, and go- dream of him /' » He motioned
to kiss he? cheek, and Ellen meekly held out
her pale but beautiful oQe/for her.father's salute,
as, with a sigh, drawn from ther depths of her
heart, she merely said — " Good night, Sir/''
60 PETEB OF THE CASTLE.
Mr. Pratt listened until he heard her light and
languid step enter her chamber; then he walk*
ed back into the parlour, cautiously shut the
door, with a pompous and heavy stride passed
Cotteril, whose ricketty length was drawn up
against the wall, in a corner; flung himself
into a chair, and bending his brows till they al-
most hid his fish-shaped grey eyes, asked,
" Well, Sir, he would not come with you, nor
have you seen him ?"
" It was not all a sham story, your honour :
I seen him, sure enough, but hadn't the speech
of him somehow or someway ; and afore I could
have it, another came across him, and they
turned out o* my sighth, together."
" Who was that person ?
?' Maybe your honour could throw a guess at
Turning a piece of tobacco in his mouth,
and stopping to deposit some of its distillation
under the grate, Mr. Cotteril advanced across
the room in his own peculiar pace. While car-
rying his person along, he rested upon one leg
the whole weight of his body, then dwelt upon
that leg, before he put the other in motion, as if
there existed a necessity to use due consideration
between every step, or a fear that one innocent
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 61
limb might bring its fellow into a scrape ; and,
perhaps upon something of the same princi-
ple, he always seemed pondering as he went
forward, his eyes generally cast down ; which
habit, together with the constant stirring of
his long tinder jaw, gave him the appear-
ance of a poor harmless kine, in a cogitative
mood. At the least word addressed to him, no
matter by whom, he would, however, half elevate
his regards, and send them round, with a sem-
blance, at least, of great good-will to every person
and every thing they fell upon ; and his way of
returning the slightest salute was bland and in-
nocent in the extreme.
" If I could guess," answered his master
to his question, " why should I inquire of
" Why, then, it 's a thing I 'in apt to think,
Sir, you'd be like enough to make three or four
offers afore you'd hit on id."
Mr. Cotteril, having said so much, drew a
chair in a sneaking way to the fire, to make
himself quite at home during the conference that
was to take place ; again emitted some of his
distilled tobacco under the grate, and setting his
side to the blaze, extended the fingers of his
right hand, in the way that the action may be
6£ PETER OF THE CASTLE.
observed to be performed by a pleased cat, in
nearly the same situation; while, nrhb a switch
he held in his left hand, and which was a general
appendage to hid equipment, he described semi-
circles on the carpet as lie talked. Persons rf
consideration are occasionally pbbged to tolerate
such familiarity from their confidante
" Some way, or some how,*' he went on, f < it
cums about by chance, or by good-looek, or
something o' the sort, that when I'm bent on
goin' ainy where, to do any thing, by dayor by
nighty there's a knack sarves my turn to send;
me the Tight road, ma&ther*"
He stopped a moment for " the mastae*'*"
assent to this proposition.
" Yes ; g& on, 7 * said Mr. Pratt.
-The same thing, afther amanner, happened
to me this bout, Sir. MakhV my way wid a
hearty good will, for the rasdn that I was on
your honour's arrand, I sthrikes up the hill-
road, that sarves by way of a short cut to *he
village; — an' I was- a^passin' by Breedge
Sheehy's cabin, about half way to the top o'
the hill — a hard-workm' ould woman is the
same Breedge, Sir ; given to' industhry ; an'
she does have a little bottle behind the noggin*
on the dhresser for a friend ; it's the widow o'
PETER OF THE CASTLE, 63
Dan Sheeby that they hanged, people say wrong-
fully enough— youd know the cabin, Sir, I'd
make free to think ?"
* Yes ; it stands the nearest to the wild, spot
of ground on the summit of the bill."
" So it does, your honour. Well, just as I was
a turain' the gable o' the house, I bears some-
body or other breaking through the loose
stones and furze,; at my right hand undher me,
on the slope o 1 the same hiU,* coming up, like
enough, from the other road, the smooth carriage-
road, that, runs all round the hill, to the village,
too; an' as the step was iaa hifcrry, I had my
own yasons for hidin' to let it pass me by ; an'
the -wan jumped across the little rough road, an'
never cried stop, bud made for the very place
your honour spakes of, on the crown o' the hill
entirely: an* sure, it was our own poor, slob,
Masther Redmond, an' nobody else; running
like the hunted hare, only no one huntin' him,
barrin 1 himself, I 'm thiiikinV
" Well,. yon followed him t?
" Faicks an' I did so, your honour; bud wid.
a little caution, afther a manner, just to thry an'
see what he was goin' to do wid his poor bones
iq sich a place as that ; an' I 'm well behouldin' ;
to the part I tuck, anyhow ; maybe it makes.
64 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
the rason why Bill Cottheril is to the fore to tell
your honour the quare things that cum about ;
for when I stole, ever so asy, round an' round
the bit o' waste ground, I hard his voice high
wid another man, afore I seen either iv 'em ; an'
when I did get the first sighth o' the both,
musha, never a mind I had to go nearer ; an'
afther a mortial spell o' the talk, in the wind an'
the dhrizzle, the man an' he turned farther off,
an' I never seen 'em since."
" And now, who was that man, Cotteril ?"
Mr. Cotteril allowed lengthened vent to a
fresh stream of tobacco-juice, spread his fingers
wider asunder at the blaze, and gave his switch
another sweep on the carpet e're he added —
€t It was Cushneiche, the robber."
Mr. Pratt stared at him.
u Nonsense, man; you are mistaken."
"Maybe I am, masther; bud tho' I'm no
great witch of a man, all out, entirely, some how
or other, I '11 make bould to say that maybe I *m
not mistaken, as well as maybe I am. Maybe
it's myself hasn't the eye-sighth good enough to
see him ; an' maybe I have no right to know
Masther Cushneiche, if I did see him; maybe
nothin' happened, an' maybe I didn't tell your
honour iv id afore, the night o' the day when we
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 65
war forced to cant an' dhrive the Meehans, poor
wwls — (a kind o' thing, I may make bould to
say, is agin our nature, only, your honour knows,
we must do id to get our own) — an' when I
was comin' along home, quite an' asy, as my way
is, maybe he didn't step up to me on the road,
and grope the poor pockets, an' dhraw out the
day's money, tellin' me, in the jibin' way he has,
it was done to save my thigh from bein' galded
wid the load; an' then what does he do bud
tear the decrees we had agin the Dooleys, into
bits the size o' my nail ; an' when all was over,
the blundherbush held to my jaw, that had a
mouth to id, aye, by Gar, the size iv a barrel
pot, while he forced me, in the civil way I had, as
he told me, to give him my hearty thanks for his
throuble, all the same, afther a manner, as if it
war goold he war afther givin' to me, not to
talk iv takin' it from me ; — yis ; maybe, some-
how or someway, I had no rason at all to know
You are quite certain then ? n
As sart'n, your honour, as that I feel the
fire, (the Lord purlong id) burnin my hine-quar-
%t Were you able to hear their conversa-
66 PJSTBR OF THE CASTLE.
" That's the otly bite that cum on us yet,
Sir* No; Sir ; never a word could I hear, tho 1
I cocked the two rasonably good ears I have, as.
stiff as the filly in the stable, when the gor^oot*
issettlin' his oats in the siv" for him; — it's not
to be denied, any how, that I didn't go as near:
to 'em as a body might go, afther a manner, if a
body hadn't a rason for keepin' a civil distance
somehow; an' it's as likely that I: did go near
enough too, for hearin 1 oV what they said, only,
some way or some how, the wind was tattherm
an* tearirf on the: top o r the place, an' dhrivin^
their words twenty ways at a time, so that there
waslittle use in listenin" * maybe afora I cum up-
there might be a sort of a kind of a jnistrndher^
stahdin' betuxt 'em, by rason that I jist caught
their voices higher at the first goin' off, noc
afther ; bud when they turned . farther over the
hill, in a thrack I had no mind to folly 'em
on, anVleft my sighth, at the* same time, it
was all like born brethers, one to another, I 'm.
" It is very surprizing," said Mr. Pratt.
" An' that same thought, Sir," continued Mr;
Cotteril, " set me upon bringin' to mind the
ould saying — * Birds of a feather flock to-
gether ;' it had the face upon it, someway or
PETEE OF THE CASTLE. 67
somehow, as if Masther Redmond was takin'
to his new wa*ys, by coorse o' nature ; an 1 , by
Gar, Bill Cottheril, says I, spakin' asy and quite
to myself, it might happen, Bill, you war tellin'
the thruth, unknownst to yourself the day afore
yistherday, when you war goin' on, afther the
masther's ordhers,to put it upon the ould Counts
safevants, an v other honest people in the village
down there, as to how the gorcoon war pedigreed,
an' the sort of a breed he sprung from."
"You have no right, Cotteril, to assume
the rare credit of having told truth on that
single occasion ; I informed you that I wished
to get the rumour circulated, myself standing
clear of it, for a certain purpose ; a domestic
one ; which I believe you guess."
" Yis, Sir, may be I do ; God bless your
honour, that laves such a thing in poor Bill
CottheriPs hands to put the guess on ; yis, the
darlin' young misthress, the Lord be good to
her, every day she gets up ! an* that dhawn
ordha* iv a Frinch lady, comin' here for to go
to take the likin' iv our poor slob iv a boy from
Miss Nelly to herself, Sir ;" — he arose from his
seat at the fire, advanced his long wriggling
* A high or conceited person.
68 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
body towards " the Masther," changed the
switch from the left to the right hand, and con-
tinued close by the table to which Mr. Pratt
sat; " Yis, Sir, to be sure ; bud — w suddenly
dropping his left elbow on the table, and bending
one leg, and stretching out the other, while his
face assumed the placid simplicity which it usu-
ally wore when speaking to strangers on Mr.
Pratt's concerns, and of which it could not now
divest itself to Mr. Pratt himself, although they
knew each other tolerably well — u It's a thing,
somehow or someway, that, if it wouldn't be
makin' too bould, entirely — he !— ha !" — we can-
not come nearer to the orthography of these
two self-interrupting ejaculations, which broke
from him, half sigh, half grunt, as he stretch-
ed forward his arm, and, with the point of his
switch, endeavoured to reach a bit of straw
that his own brogues had smuggled into the
room — u too bould, entirely,' ' he resumed, " to
ax your honour the rason that's in id — "an-
other pause, in another energetic effort to reach
the straw, which a looker-on might suppose to
be the chief object of his desires — " if it 's such
a thing as that your honour is downright in
arnest about, afther a manner, to let the gor-
yoon make up to Miss Nelly, good fort'n be
PETER OF THE CASTLE.
in : her road— why you 'd be sendin' a body to
whisper them quare stories about him V And
the last words seemed to escape merely as if
they slipped from him in his repeated efforts to
reach the straw, which, as they were uttered,
he at last succeeded in twitching from its
" 1 11 satisfy you on that point, honest Bill,
for I am aware it does seem rather strange,"
replied Mr. Pratt, scarce able to keep in a con-
temptuous smile at the play of face and tongue
that assailed him; " and my answer involves
some delicate family matters ; yet, as I know
you to be an old and long-tried friend of the
family, I can fear little from giving you my
" Faicks, yis; your honour knows poor
Bill Cottheril is loyal to the back-bone."
" Indeed, Bill, I believe so; and therefore
willingly answer the question you have just
" Long before I could, from observation,
interpose my authority to prevent it, Red-
mond had, by constant assiduity, won the affec-
tions of Miss Pratt."
t€ Oh, the thief o' the world ; what impedince
he had to do sich a thing, Sir."
70 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
< " On account of the great indulgence with
which I treated the boy, she was hot on her
guard against him* particularly after his last
return from College v when he came to us cer-
tainly an intelligent, well-mannered/ and, in
his person, a fine young man ; and so, Cotteril,
Miss Pratt's tender nature at last fully owned
his merits and attentions.""
" 'Musha, the poor erature ; the poor young
misthress, Sir ;— ah' Miss Nelly owned it, Sir?"
" But, as you before rightly conjectured,
Master Redmond soon after met the strange lady
at the Count's, and his love and his professions
were forgotten. 4 "
" Oh, the young thief, I say again, Sir — I
wish we had a hoult of him, a second time, your
honour, jest for his good."
" You know the delicate state of your young
lady's health; you know my apprehensions
about it, and my great affection for her ;— you
know the anxiety that, as a father, I must feel
upon the subject ; and therefore, Cotteril, you
will understand why I instructed you to whis-
per such rumours as, upon reaching the old
Count's ear, would be likely to put an end to
Mr. Redmond's visits at Pleasant-view."
" Avoch, I do undherstand, Sir; — musha
yis; if the poor young misthress hard tell of it,
PETER OP THE CASTLE. 71
it would go nigh to break the heart in her body,
" That's precisely what I wish to prevent-
I hope to bring back* by any means — you mind
me, Cotteril— by any means — this young lad to
his most honourable line of conduct* before Miss
Pratt knows that she has been slighted, deserted,
" Musha, to be sure, Sir; an 1 why not, God
purlong her days, an' look down on her ; an, 1 by
any manes at all, your honour says, afther a
manner, somehow ?"
" Yes, eotteril."
" Why then, yis, wid all my heart, Sir ;
only, afther a manner, we don't fusthaunf*
your honour, out-an-out, entirely."
" If what is already done has no effect, it will
be necessary to get him into our power, Bill."
u Faiks, so it will, Sir ; your honour jest
Cotteril smilingly waited to hear a speedy
explanation of " the MastherV plan for getting
Redmond, as he had said, into his power ; but,
rather to his disappointment, Mr. Pratt was, for
some time, silent; and when at last he re-
*uwedy hpnest Bill did not immediately see the
78 . PETER OF THE CASTLE.
cjiift or connexion of the new with the former
" This Cushneiche, Bill-^— n
" Yis, Sir ; this bad boy of a Cushneiche." "
" How long before I last returned from
Dublin had the fellow been in the country ? only
a few weeks, I think you have said/'
" And, from all you can learn, he is not a
native of these parts ?"
" Neither he nor his next in command, Sir,
the Yallow Sailor, as they calls him ; nor like
the boys, o' the count hry, either, though many '•
the bouchal about the place is listed wid em,
people say, since they cum among us, somehow
or someway; only Cushneiche himself, some-
times dhresses like one kind o' body, sometimes
like another, an' is never known to look the laste
resembhV a labourin' man', as the others do,
afther a manner ; an' the Yallow Sailor always
wears his blue jacket, more betoken the tallow
face he's called afther."
" They do not rob poor and rich, indiscri-
" So far from it, your honour, that, when the
fit takes Cushneiche, hell give to a poor man
what ' he borrowed from a rich one ; an 1 then
PETER OP THE CASTLE. 78
their friends, Sir, the counthry round; their re-
caivers, an' them that hides 'em, and gives 'em
help at a pinch ; faiks I hear there's some cabins
we wouldn't .s'pect for it that goes on wid
thricks o' the kind, Sir."
" But I suspected them, Cotteril ; and, per-
haps, between us we know as much erf the gen-
tlemen altogether, as will make sure of them one
of those days."
" Wid God's help, Sir : tho' faiks, your honour,
we 'd want sich help when it's agin the red divil
we must fight, that gets Cushneiche out o'more
scrapes than an ould eel that 'ud be slippin'
thro' the dhrag-net, night afther night, the year
" No matter, he may be hauled up at last.
Now, Cotteril, you are sure Mr. Redmond has
joined this highway robber ; you saw them meet
and walk off together, quietly and confiden-
tially ?" His cabinet minister assented. u And
you are ready to say as much to your neigh-
bours to-morrow morning, so that the good
people of the country may soon hear it ; and you
are ready to swear it too before any magistrate
in the land — all without having it understood
that I know a word of the matter?"
Cotteril answered that, for an " honest, quite,
vol. in. * e
74 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
aisy man," no creature alive was more ready iand
willing to " down with an honest oath," at any
time, in his honour's service.
" Then you know what you are to do the
very first thing in the morning, Bill ? and so
drink this tumbler of wine — and good night to
With prayers for the long life and welfare of
his honour and the whole family, Mr. Cotteril
speedily .obeyed this command, and then put
himself in motion to take his ill-constructed and
shuffling figure out of the room. As he gained
the door, he hesitated, stopped, and said — " Good
night an' a pleasant sleep to your honour ; but,
musha, Sir — I ax pardon — but what's to be
done wid the darlin' young misthress, God keep
her, in regard o' the young masther not comin*
home to the tay an' toast in the mornin', as I
tould her ?"
" Leave that to me, Bill ; you have nothing
to do with it ; only go to your bed."
" Oh ! sorrow a thing, Sir, sure enough ; an'
it 's to your honour's self we'll lave it ; an' why
not? A good night, Sir, an' the Lord reward you,
and be good to you." He scraped himself out
of the room, his face all simplicity and good
nature ; yet, ere he turned down the kitchen
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 75
stairs to the servants' apartment, stopped once
more, and added—* 4 But my sowl to glory, if
myself thinks the masther is outright as open
wid me in this little business as he blieves I
think he is ; an' I don't find it in my heart, for
all he says, wid his own smooth tongue, somehow,
to be satisfied on the head o' wantin' to marry
that gor^oon. to the young misthress by half
hangin' him afore hand : no matther ; he always
an' ever had the two ways in him, and yet they
seldom or never bamboozled poor Bill Cotthdril,
ather ; an' may be, by a little watchin', an keep-
ing our toe in our brogue, an' our own tongue
in our cheek, the ball wouldn't be sthruck all
his own way this hayt nather."
Mr. Pratt remained sitting alone in the di-
ning-room long after his departure : at length he
rose up, with a heavy, care-freighted sigh, and
getting a light, proceeded to his library. There
he took down a volume of statutes, and opening
it at a page to which a mark previously placed
in the book at once directed him, read over,
very studiously, a particular statute ; then closed
the volume ; with his hand laid upon its cover,
remained in deep thought ; in some time, roused
himself; returned the book to its shelf, care-
fully adjusting the mark ; gained his sleeping-
76 PKTEE OF THE CASTLE.
chamber ; locked the door ; walked into a closet ;
opened a strong box ; took out a parchment
deed; conned it over, also; dwelt, again and
again, on its date, in the manner of one who
sought to indulge certainty rather than in any
degree to attain it ; and, finally, the point of his
reflections escaped him in this short and whis-
pered soliloquy — " Yes, he shall make her hi*
wife, if the prospect of the gallows itself can
induce him. I know he does not love her, and
Ellen need not have told me; but no matter;
Redmond shall marry her."
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 77
The day for attending to the invitation of
Darby Roach and his son arrived, &nd Mr.
Pratt and Ellen prepared to go toMickle Tobin's
house. All guests were expected by six o'clock
in the evening; and as the small farmer, Tobin,
lived some miles beyond the village, while Mr.
Pratt's mansion lay about the same distance
from it, in an opposite direction, it was neces-
sary to be on horseback by five at least, parti-
cularly as they should, at that hour, have the last
light of a February evening, and escape, in its
company, all chance of a meeting with Cush-
neiche, or any of hi& subjects. For the purpose
of providing against his intrusion on the way
home, Mr. Pratt left orders with Cotteril to call
for him at the place of nuptials, about eleven
o'clock, attended by a number of men, well*
In order that his daughter might bear him
78 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
company, on the present festive occasion, Mr.
Pratt had well justified his claim, expressed when
the reader last found him and Cotteril confiden-
tially discoursing, to have the arrangement of
the question of Redmond's absence left entirely
to himself. In fact, he had seriously informed
Ellen, that after an early interview between the
youth and him, the morning subsequent to his
sudden flight from the house, Redmond con-
sented to depart immediately for Dublin, to
complete his college course, in consequence of
having previously disclosed his passion for Ellen,
and received an approbation, provided he should
betake himself to studies he had long neglect-
ed, and not attempt to see her until a stipulated
time. His period of probation would, however,
be but a short one ; only a few months in fact :
and, when it had expired, Ellen might be pre-
pared to see a fervent lover at her feet.
The girl had no reason or inclination to
disbelieve her father's word ; the truth of this
statement she did not, therefore, doubt ; and
yet she heard it with that languid acquiescence
of the heart which comes from a foreboding of
disappointment. It never occurred to her to
question the facts so stated ; but she could not
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 79
get Redmond before her imagination as a
Meantime, while Cotteril, at his master's
instance, widely whispered a very contrary ac-
count of the situation of Redmond, Mr.
Pratt studiously arranged to keep the shockr
ing story from his daughter's ear. That,
according to hopes and plans he had formed,
this gentleman reckoned to place her lover
under her eyes, in the light and within the
time he spoke of, is certain, and therefore, and
if for no reason but to guard his own show of
consistency, he would have taken this precaution :
but there was another reason ; and, although
with him scarcely a more potent, yet a more
amiable one; he fondly loved his gentle and
drooping daughter; his fears for her health
were lively and continual ; and even had there
been no policy in the case, assuredly he would
have striven to keep her from the knowledge of
a story which, whether true or false, must deeply
embitter, if it did not endanger her life.
After making his fabulous communication,
he exerted himself too in every way, to cheer her
mind and rally her spirits ; and, as part of his
efforts in this view, gently insisted, against her
80 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
repeated though unusual objections, that Ellen
should accompany him to their tenant's wed*
ding. Even here Mr. Pratt had a double mo-
tive. He wished to stand well with the world,
and, as a first step, with his tenantry ; that is,
with every one of them from whom a tolerably
regular discharge of rent might be expected.
While the poor and unfortunate, and of course
the irregular portion of his " cottiers" and small
farmers were driven, and distrained, and ejected,
without ceremony — (Mr. Cotteril, as has been
gathered from his own personal eulogy, the chief
agent on all such occasions)— the prosperous and
thriving portion experienced smiles and urbanity
from their landlord. He would salute them
kindly ; talk with them in a good-natured tone ;
give ear to their little wants, of that description
which it cost him nothing to alleviate ; decide all
their knotty law-points, with die more authority,
assumed and acknowledged, because they knew
he had once been " a counsellor ;" and, above
all, Mr. Pratt wished to get credit for the patri-
archal condescension of mingling in their domes-
tic festivities, at wedding, or christening, so that
those who duly paid their arrears might never
have it in their power or be disposed to call him
" hard," or " an upstart." Ahd aware that, to
PITER OF THE CAST 1,1. 8]
procure the good word of any family, it is ad-
visable to win over the female members, Mr.
Pratt, on all these accounts, encouraged bis
daughter in her own voluntary wish of making
happy the humble people around her, whether
by assisting thtm, obliging them, or miiing with
them ; 4*d hence, apart from his sincere anxiety
to cheer Ellen by a kind of scene he knew she
enjoyed, he now insisted, notwithstanding her
unusual objection on the score of unusual bad
spirits, upon having her company to the Tobins.
There were, too, other little helping motives ;
for Mr. Pratt was not a man to do any thing
without well understanding why and where-
fore, and nicely dividing every cause to action.
Darby Roach bad informed him that Miss
D'Arnell might be at the wedding ; and, first*
he wished to observe closely the lady who, at
present, seemed to stand between him and a
favourite object; second, he had heard she was
proud and lofty, and not likely to be a favou-
rite with the common people, while his daughter
Ellen was mild and bending, and beloved by
them, far and wide, and he was anxious to
have the young ladies contrasted, that Ellen
might bear away all the good-will, part of which
must naturally extend to himself; next, h*
82 PETER OF THE CASTL$.
would fain observe if Cotteril's report of Red-
mond's present fate had reached Miss D'Ar-
nell, and, if so, what effect it was likely to
produce upon her ; and from that effect, whe-
ther or no the lady loved his prot6g£ ; and
lastly — though, perhaps, we should not say lastly
— he wanted to avail himself of something like
a public occasion to express certain opinions
touching the conduct of the boy, and his own
asserted feelings towards him.
A river flowed between Mr. Pratt's house and
the village through which he must pass to the
place of festivity : after riding about two miles
along the road that ran parallel to this river, he
and Ellen had to turn to the right over the .
bridge which led into the village; and when about
half way across, they commanded an uninter-
rupted view of the principal street, running be-
fore them in a continued line, against a steep
and rugged ascent that was still to be their
way to s Tobitfs house.
They had emerged, slowly walking their hor-
ses, upon the bridge, when a poor, wretched
looking man, whom both seemed with some in-
terest to recognize, passed them from behind,
at a good pace. He was about fifty years old,
tall, bare-headed, with his profuse and sun-
PJETKE OF THE.CASTIiE. 88
burnt brown hair matted, and falling down
in strings, until it met a tangled beard, which
touched his breast ; his body was covered with
what can be called nothing but a bundled patch-
work of rags, of different colours, rudely stitch-
ed together, and often laid, piece after piece,
over each other; and this covering descended to
his knees, and was girt round his waist with a
hay-rope, denominated in Ireland " suggaun ;"
a small-clothes of similar construction peeped
from beneath it; his legs and feet were bare.
Under his left arm he tucked a little bundle of
twigs, dried potatoe-stalks, and a few straws,
securely tied up with another "suggaun," which,
again, the Irish peasant would call his " bresna"
or day's gathering for the evening^ fire; with
the hand of the same arm he held, over his
shoulder, the neck of a wallet, which hung,
half filled, at his back, and with the other
grasped a long, knotty, polished walking-staff.
Thus, at a first view, the poor man might only
present an appearance of mendicant misery and
squalidness, and attract no particular notice
distinct from the various other sets of vagrant
beggars, who, before and behind him, shuffled
along towards the rendezvous of good living for
the day, namely, Mickle Tobitfs house ; but if
84 PETEB OF THE CAftTLV.
one looked a second time at him, or observ-
antly contrasted him with his seeming bre-
thren, some peculiar character was visible.
Although his eye dwelt immovably on the
ground ; although long past his prime of bodily
strength; and, as has been noticed, although
laden with the wallet, he walked perfectly
upright-not even his head or neck following the
downcast and fixed habit of his glance ; his brow
was commanding, though self-abased and hum*
bled; his nose, the only feature to be seen, 6f
fine large mould ; his bare legs, though tanned
by weather, and showing some of the stringy
sinuosity of approaching age, were beautifully
and even delicately shaped ; and his long, firm,
measured tread— during which the feet turned
outward in that pleasing evenness symmetry
confers, and that the dancing-master would
fain ensure to every pupil— conveyed a notion
of native and early loftiness of nature, of which
the physical impression could not yet be lost
even amid accumulated misery and humiliation.
" Ah, poor Padhre na-Moulh, father," said
Ellen, as he passed them, walking, as nearly as
their horses would permit, in the middle of the
bridge — " and is he, too, going to be the better
of a day of feasting ?"
_ PETEB OF THE CASTLE. 86
*. Peter, how do you do, to-day?'' asked
Mr. Pratt, No verbal answer was expected*
because it was known that, whether from a na-
tural want, or a wayward, insane, or, perhaps,
religious cause, Peter never uttered a word,
although he gave clear proof of hearing and un-
derstanding whatever was spoken to him;— no
reply was, we say, expected from his lips, but
Mr. Pratt paused, as he had often vainly done
before, in hopes that the poor object would
show, by some sign or action, a return to his
" The unfortunate man has not heard you,
Sir," said Ellen, when no notice of the salute
came from the mendicant. " How are you,
Padhre ?* she proceeded ; willing to relieve her
father (for she knew him well) of the little
disappointment she thought he would feel at
having his condescension go for nothing: and
the moment her voice sounded in his ear, Peter
stopped ; drew up to let them pass ; while they
did so, bowed his head to his breast, two or
three times, in a lowly, respectful manner,
and then kneeling in the rough, and miry
road, moved his lips, his eyes still down,
as if in a prayer for the young lady. This
result did not, however, gratify Mr. Pratt:
86 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
for he felt that, as Peter was nearer to. them
when he spoke, than when his daugh-
ter repeated his question, the man might
have answered, had he wished, in the first
" Musha, Padhre, will the penance never
go away ?" asked the leader of a band of beg-
gars, who, while he knelt, quickly shambled
" Or the speech never come back to you,
Padhre, aroon ?" queried another, in a tone half
pitiful, half ironical. He took no notice, either
in anger or observation, of these questions.
" Bags, bags ! halloo, bags !" shouted a string
of village urchins, as they scampered over the
bridge, applying to him a nick-name derived
from his often carrying more than one wallet in
his wandering excursions. Still he took no no-
tice, not' even by raising his eyes or knitting
his brows, or as much as stopping the move-
ment of his lips.
" Go home to th' ould castle, or it'll be fallin'
on all the good goold an' silver you do be al-
ways hiding in it ! v — cried one of the imps, re-
collecting a popular rumour, one of many con-
nected with him, that endowed poor Peter with
a miserly appropriation of the results of his
PETEA OF THE CASTLE. 87
habits of receiving, rather than of asking, alms
from the charitable.
" Go home to it, an* mend the brogues for
the fairies !" cried a second, embodying in this
exhortation another piece of village gossip, to
the effect, that any one who had courage enough
(and few, at least among" the present bold
speakers, had) to peep, in evening twilight,
about the precincts of the old ruin, in which he
had chosen to take up his residence, might see
sundry pairs of dilapidated brogues and shoes,
laid cunningly among the weeds and rubbish,
to be taken in by Peter overnight, and returned,
at his hands, well pieced and patched, before
the dew left the grass in the morning.
Still he remained abstracted. * At last, " Hal-
loo, hiss ! tear him, Bully P* — " tear him, Bar-
ker P — " cut the sthrings iv his bag, an' let the
day's getherin o* money out !" screamed many of
the idle boys, as they accompanied their cruel
commands to their various dogs, with showers
of mud on the passive creature : indeed it was
their custom, when they caught Peter free, in
the open day-light, from the mystery and se-
clusion of his rather dreaded old castle, thus to
revenge themselves on him for the terror and
88 PETER OF THK CASTLE.
provoking discussion his name always excited
at a distance.
And at last, the apathetic or humble man,
showed some sense of the indignities cast upon
him. He showed it,however, but slightly. While
the mire descended on his bare head and ragged
person, and while the barking and snarling curs
ran on, — half afraid, though, like their masters
— to worry him, his calm brow, and worn, sal-
low cheek reddened for a moment, his eye,
still hidden by its lid, shot askance at the
mean and vicious animals, and his sinewy
hand grasped its long staff more firmly ; — but
the next instant, and before one of the bye-
standers interposed to protect him, the muscles
of the hand relaxed; die brow and cheek faded
back to their deep-pale hue; the eye again
dropped on the ground, and, while nothing but
a rolling tear gave evidence of the abiding smart
of human feelings, he bowed his head upon his
breast, more lowlily than when he had seemed
to salute the young lady, and as if in abject sub-
mission to all the suffering he might be doomed
It was Mr. Pratt, who, at the instance of his
shocked and much affected daughter, stept in
between Peter and the crowd of persecuting
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 89
brats and curs. With loud threats, and one
or two cuts of his horsewhip, the whole pack,
human and canine, were forced to desist, and
run shrieking and hallooing over the bridge,
still keeping up their inveterate though baffled
humour, and sure of escaping at a distance, the
rough treatment promised to them on the spot.
But they had not gained the end of the bridge,
when their anticipations of getting off with
impunity met a sudden check. A large dog,
of the Newfoundland species, who, it would
seem, had, from some point of the high road
leading to the bridge, become aware of their
proceedings, swept in amongst them, and dis-
regarding his own currish brethren, got down
the boys by twos and threes, worrying them
and shaking them, with his mouth placed on
their breasts, and jumping, — while their cries of
terror now rose shrill, — from one to another, ac-
cording as the brat he had just been punishing,
and had left for a second and third, began to
betray any symptoms of a wish to get up and
run away. It was well for them the indignant
and noble animal lacked, from extreme old age,
teeth and tusks to eke out his willing mind to
chastise them on this occasion, as, perhaps, his
highly roused spirit might have led him to more
90 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
violence than his contempt warranted. He was,
indeed, for a dog, evidently very old, as the
thinness of his shaggy coat at a glance inti-
mated, and even as the result of his vehement
exertions confirmed ; for Mr. Pratt observed
that the sudden fury which had given him an
unusual vigour soon exhausted itself : he began
to stagger and pant, often falling by the side of
his foe in a vain effort to renew his attack : and
at last, as one by one the young ragamuffins
escaped, he had barely strength enough left to
run, at a crippled pace, towards the spot where
Padhre-na-Moulh now stood, and dropping at
his feet, with low and complaining, and, it
might appear, sympathizing cries, acknowledge
his decrepitude to his master.
And now the terrified youngsters were making >
the best of their way clear off the bridge, when
it seemed that Retribution had not yet emptied
her vials upon them. At the narrowest part,
where the bridge clumsily joined the road, their
leaders suddenly stopped ; fell back, throwing
their rear into confusion ; and, one after the other,
yelled out — " Here's Daddy Clayton ! Daddy
Clayton ! an' Thomaus Foddhah * by the side iv
him!" — " Here's Daddy Clayton, widhiscrook-
* Long Tom.
FETER OF THE CASTLE. 91
ed paw, an' Thomaus wid his long wattle !" —
Padhre-na-MouhYs fairy-men, that follys him
every where he goes, an* stops wid him all
night, to watch him for the good people ! —
They'll kill us stone dead for meddlin' or
makin' wid him ! they'll spile us, an* they 11
rune us, so they will — murther !"
Mr. Pratt, looking down the bridge, saw the
two old men spoken of. One was very much
bent and withered; the other, besides answer-
ing to his epithet in great height of stature,
was emaciated almost to a skeleton appear-
ance ; and both were clad in mendicant ap-
parel, and loaded with mendicant wallets, great
and small. Taking possession, one at either
side, of the only outlet through which the boys
could escape to the road, Daddy Clayton, the
crippled little man, assuming, in his pinched
and shrivelled features, an expression of un-
earthly spite and venom, and holding as high
as he could the left arm, truly alluded to by the
urchins as crooked, and, still higher, his good
right arm, of which the hand held a curved
stick,— thus preparing himself, he stepped cau-
tiously and ominously towards them in one di-
rection : while, from the other, Thomaus brand-
ished aloft, in both hands, the formidable
weapon that had also made part of their anti-
98 PETER 07 THE CASTLE.
cipations. As the first-mentioned personage
continued -to steal on, something in the manner
of a starved and prudent cat on a fine herd of
young mice, the despairing boys, chiefly fright-
ened by the hobgoblin motion he contrived to
give his withered member, screamed aloud in
agony, and ran towards the other side; but
there encountering Thomaus and his wattle,
their cries rose louder and louder : they shed
tears ; they fell on their knees, or they danced
on their heels in a frenzy of terror; and it was
not till Peter's faithful followers had supposed
them sufficiently punished in apprehension, that
they finally ceased the threats they had perhaps
never meant to carry into effect, and permitted
the unfeeling young offenders to make a retreat
to the road.
Mr. Pratt and Ellen knew these old men also;
and, after waiting to enjoy the panic they had
inflicted on the village rout, turned to meet
them. Before leaving Peter alone, where he
stood, Ellen dropped a piece of money by
his side, which the poor wretch drew nearer to
him with the end of his staff, and then inclining
his head towards the two old men, as if to fix
their notice on it, began to walk, closely followed
PETEH OF THE CASTLE. 93
by his limping dog, and in his usual measured
pace, to the village.
Daddy Clayton, keenly observing, with his
little ferret-eyes, the whole proceeding, hobbled
past Mr. Pratt and his daughter to pick up
the silver piece, as if in the discharge of a
usual duty ; and his companion, standing still,
u The thousand blessin's on your open hand,
and on your open heart, an' may they never fail
" Is he quieter in his mind lately, Tho-
maus V inquired Miss Pratt.
" We b'lieve its asier the mind is wid him, a
colleen ; bud as dark as ever ; an' waker, maybe:
an* the heart growin' sicker an' heavier. 7 *
" Does he object as much as formerly to your
following him, and taking care of him ?" asked
" Nien, Sir:— iv an odd time, maybe, the
staggers 'ill take him, an' then he'll put the roars
out iv his mouth that 'ud frighten any Christhen
to hear, at the dead o' night, all manin' for us to
lave him alone in his ould fiook, tho' he never
says the word : bud when we spake to him, and
raeon wid him, an' call to his mind that we're
put upon his thrack to watch him, an 9 help him,
94 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
an 1 hendher him from thro win' himsef wid the
river, agin, all by the ordhers o' them he knows
well, an 1 is behoulden to obey, the poor sowl
comes round in the turn iv a hand, an' kneels
down a start, an' gets up as quite as the child."
" And who has set you both to watch him,
Thomaus ?" continued Mr. Pratt.
" Anan p™ queried Thomaus, evidently with
a view, in his own way, to evade the subject.
" "Tis no use to ask, Sir," said Ellen, aside
to her father ; " I have, myself, often before put
the question, accompanying it, too, with a good
bribe for confidence ; but the old men keep their
" Then they invent a story to give themselves
a seeming right to follow the passive wretch for
the charities he receives, or for the purpose of
surrounding him and themselves with one of the
superstitious mysteries by which they always
practise on the credulity and on the purse of
the vulgar," said Mr. Pratt.
" It may be so, Sir; but I do not believe it
is. So then, Thomaus, he now permits you to
follow him, for the night, into the old building ?**
" We folly him where we likes, the night an 1
the day, over the roads, an 1 the bosheens, an' the
fields an 1 the hills, colleen," answered Daddy
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 95
Clayton, hobbling back, after securing the lar-
gess, and speaking in a " cranky , v dictatorial
tone ; <c an' never ax lave from him, or any one
for him ; an* if he sits out on the stone, a-top o'
the hill, we sit at his back the dark night long ;
or if he walks up an' down in the moonshine by
the river's side, we walk in his thrack ; an' all
to do the biddin* 6* them that must have their
biddin 1 done ; an* no thanks to any other body
for doin 1 iv id, or for axin' why we do it, more-
" Well, Daddy ; no dne is asking you now,
to put you in such bad humour," resumed
Ellen, with a smile ; " it will be enough for us
to know that he is safe, and in want of nothing."
" Safe an' sound he is, an 1 safe an sound 'ill
be, an* no fear iv him doin' the harum on himself,
sence the winther's night we started upon him
at the wather's side, when he didn't think we
war so near him ; an' pult him, like the knot
6* black weeds, out o' the sthrame; for them
that 's kep for other things don't get the lave
to hang, or dhrown, or burn, at their own bid-
din', till the time is in it to be called to another
place : an' nothin is he in want iv, becase the
Christhens won't let him ; an', I tell ye agin',
96 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
becase there 's others to keep him an 1 us, if the
good Christhens never opened a hand to us on
our road, the long year round."
" Come, my love," whispered Mr. Pratt; " let
us leave these rude and silly beggars :" and he
silently turned his horse once more towards the
" Good day, Thomaus ; good day, Daddy, *
said Ellen, as she joined her father.
" A good day to you" answered the person
last addressed, in a shrill, emphatic tone ; then
sinking his voice, and turning to his companion,
" the good day, an' the merry one, is the laste we
can wish you, when it 's to be the short one ; an 1
for him that '3 by your side, a curse on the day
he cum among us, an' every day he stops wid
us, to the last :— an' that day 'ill be Mack enough
to him, widout our sweet blessmV
" It 's a thruth it will, Daddy," responded
Thomaos, as both sat down in a broken niche
on the bridge, and there, propping themselves
on their sticks, began a close " shanachus" It
was a clear, fair day, though one in February ;
the sky was blue and white ; the river beneath
than ran sparkling and transparent ; its banks
were green and fresh ; at their backs, in the dis-
tance, rose high grounds, green and cheery too,
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 97
with, towering above them, remote peaks of
azure hills ; birds twittered by ; the little bum
of happy or bustling life echoed from the near
village; every thing and every creature, they
excepted, seemed part of one whole being, joyous
in a first escape from winter into coming spring.
But they sat in the shattered niche, withered,
discontented, and frozen into a state of body
and mind that owned no promise of returning-
vigour or joy ; disconnected with the life and
freshness about them ; alone, but for their own
fellowship, amid men and nature ; existing only
to await the hourly-expected call of death ; and
suggesting, from the unearthly expression of
their features, from their discourse and their
sentiments, either that — (in recollection of the
village gossip) — they had been sent hither as
the agents to a fearful purpose, or that, disgust-
ed with a being they could no longer enjoy, and
hating those they must leave to enjoy k, their
tongues might only descant on the fatal haps
which " flesh is heir to," and, not gratified by,
summing up even those, give vent to their mixed
venom and credulity by weaving the omens of
superstition around the mischances of life.
" It *s a thruth you Ve savin', Daddy," con-
tinued Thomaus ; — "a curse is on every day
vol. in. r
98 PETEB OF THE CASTLE.
he 's to see ; bud don't tell us the colleen's day
is to be a short one."
" She hasn't my ill-will or my bad word,
Thomaus, for her open hand an' her wiliin 1
speech to the ould an' the needy ; bud we must
say our sayin* out, lad, for all that."
u Did you get the warnin' for her, Daddy ?"
" She has id on her, for herself, Thomaus,
as plain as the moon does have the warnin' on
her, wid the brouch* round her or not round
her, for the rain, or the frost,' or the storum ;
she has id on the cheek, white an' sinkin'-in,
afore its time; an' in the eye, withered an'
dhroopin', when it's behauldin' to be laughin'
an' lookin' round for its pleasure ; an' on the lips,
as blue an' as faded as if the grave spiled em
aforehand: or if she hadn't id on her, Thomaus,
why, yes, I seen id for her ; I seen id the bright
night that Padhre walked as among the lone
hills, when you couldn't see id, an' he couldn't
see id, bud I could an' did ; by the side o' the
long white stone, on the spread o' green grass
in the wide glin, I saw id standin'; an* in the
red fire, while I was lookin' at id in the dead o'
the night, I saw id ; an' in the moanin' that went
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 99
round her father *s house the last night I passed
it close, I hard it. She's a lauchy colleen,
Thomaus ; an 1 not one of 'em that goes in their
brave clothes, an* rouls in their carriages, an*
pets up for the ladies an* the queens o' the earth,
more desarvin' iv a long long life to take their
pleasure in, an' show their pride in, an' laugh
at the thought iv bein' young, an' rich, an*
comely; she's all this, Thomaus, an' more
than this, that could be reckoned up, bud she
must hear an', heed the call, Thomaus; ay,
while many an" 1 ould, an* withered, an' despised
thing stops behind her, Thomas''— - the speaker
grinned a malicious smile, as, resting his chin
upon the hand that was propped by his stick, his
little red eyes fastened on those of his compa-
nion — " an' many a crature that could be her
father's father crawls the earth she lies in,
Ailleen-bawn * must hear an' heed id, lad."
" Ochown, ochown, Daddy; the sod lie light
on her, then ; bud it 11 be a lesson to 'em all. An'
so, Padhre 'ill never have his way an' his wish
to make her an' the gonjoon come together ? an'
young Redmand-dhuiv f must go a wivin to ano-
ther, bud not a betther ?"
* Fair Ellen. + Black Redmond.
100 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
". Ay, ay, gossip ; Padhre 'ill be crossed in
that wish, an* the proud go^oon 'ill live to look
down upon her fresh sod, an' dhrop the tears,
the scaldin' tears on id, that I don't begrudge
him, if he loves an' likes her as Padhre thinks
he does, or wants him to do ; he '11 live for this,
Thomaus, if his own warnin' does not come
aforehand ; an' I 'm lookin' for id to come, lad,
an' the best prayers I say is put up that I may
see it soon.* 1
" An' that you may, Daddy : an' there 's as
good as two amins to your prayer ; he had ever
an' always the dark look, an' the distant word,
an' the close hand, for us an' our sort. ,J
" An* no later nor the night he cum among
us, in Padhre 's house, to discoorse him, afther
the sassenach upstart gave him the could side
o' the dour, did you mind, Thomaus, the way
he spoke to you an* me, an' looked on us,
an" stamped at us, for crossin' him on Pad-
hre 's thrashold, as if we war the dirt o* the
ground he walked on, an' he the king o' the
earth, far an' near? But come, Thomaus; it's
time for us to be goin' to look afther the crature
that wants an eye upon him ; an' the weddin 1
faste is waitin\for us, lad; an' the comely bride
waitin' for our blesshT ; an' their music, an'
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 101
their dancin', an' their carousin' can't go on
wid a heart, unless we're by to be th< betther
iv id*, morya. *"
As he spoke these words in a bitter jeer, the
old cripple hobbled with his comrade towards
Meantime Mr. Pratt and his daughter rode
after Peter into the village. In the middle of
the street, where markets were holden, was a
rude and shattered stone cross, mounted upon a
broad base, and overhung by a large lime-tree.
As they came on, Peter again appeared, sitting
upon the base of the cross, as if resting him-
self, or perhaps patiently awaiting the arrival
of his old warders, his dog couched at his feet,
a crowd of curious or commiserating people
standing around, and, in an outer circle, a se-
cond array of village brats, cautiously, out of
respect to the dog, applying to him the popular
nick-name already mentioned, and well disposed
to annoy him, as far as they dared, in other res-
pects. The father and daughter felt anxious
to protect him from further insult.
" Get up, good Peter," said Mr. Pratt, ad-
dressing him in a kind tone as they passed. He
did not move.
* This implies a sneer.
102 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
"Do, Padhre, get up, for God's sake, and
come with us to the wedding,'' echoed Ellen.
He bowed his head, but did not rise.
" Stand up, my son, 7 ' exhorted the aged but
mild voice of a third speaker from behind;
and Ellen and her father were joined by Mr.
Fenelly, the parish priest, and by his young
and healthy-looking coadjutor, both mounted,
and also on their way to Mickle Tobin's. Be-
tween these gentlemen and Mr. Pratt and his
daughter, the greetings of acquaintances en-
sued ; while, at the first sound of the old
priest's voice, Peter started, and letting his
hand slide downward along his staff, knelt and
moved his lips.
" Rise, my son, rise, and put a trust in Him
who will soon bring you the peace of mind,
and the blessing at last," continued the old
clergyman : and after giving two or three very
lowly obeisances, the wretched man stood up,
and took his way against the hilly road that
led out of the village.
" Poor fellow ! w said Mr. Pratt, speaking to
Mr. Fenelly ; " whatever may be the cause of
it, his present misery seems great and abject:
Ellen and I, Sir, were making conjectures about
it, before you came up ; and perhaps your ex-
perience could assist us in them,"
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 103
" His troubles, and, if any, his crimes, Mr.
Pratt," continued the priest coldly, " are, we
must suppose, solely between his God and him ;
but do you take our road, my dear Miss Nelly?
— are you for a bit of the bridecake ? — come,
then," — having received a languid smile of as-
sent — " let an old man play the cavalier at your
bridle ;" and without further observation on
the subject thus rather peremptorily waived,
the party rode in Peter's track against the
104 PETER OF THE CA8TLE.
On account of the steepness and ruggedness
of the ascent, the whole party -walked their
horses very slowly until they gained level
ground, from which a wide view of the adja-
cent country was commanded— of the river and
the river's banks above and below the bridge,
of the undulating lands at the far side of the
clear inland stream, and of other more maje^
tic grounds lying farther on than their present
place of destination, but in a continuation of
the same route. Below, at the backs of swell-
ing inequalities, that hid a view of them
from the bridge, appeared a scattered group
of monastic ruins, in one of which Peter had
taken up his residence, and from which he
derived his title of Peter-na-Moulh, or Peter
of the Castle. These relics of a time, a com-
munity, and institutions gone by, were about
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 105
half a dozen in number ; some, the remains of
arched cloisters; some, square castles, much
bedded in their own accumulated fragments,
and in the soil, weeds, and other vegetation
that ages had deposited and matured around
them; and some showing shapes so curious
and peculiar, as to give rise to various surmises
touching their purpose on the part of all su-
perficial visitors, and to considerable doubts on
the part of more antiquarian and learned ob-
servers. Village guides would point out such
and such a little edifice, internally canopied
by ivy that had rioted up its sides, as, at a for-
mer time, appropriated to uses, which, with-
out a violent anachronism, the hearer could not
force himself to believe were then contemplated;
and the general, and, we believe, even select no-
tion was, that, many centuries ago, here had
flourished an important town, grown up under
monastic patronage, of which the greater por-
tion was now crumbled off the face of the
earth, and of which the very name was for-
Mr. Pratt, his daughter, and the two clergy-
men drew up on the top of the ascent that of-
fered the varied prospect we have sketched, and
stopped some time to look around them. Mean
106 PETER OF THE CASTLfi,
while Peter, whom they had not overtaken since
he left the village before them, was seen turning
up the little bridle-road, that, at the right, some
hundred yards distant, led directly to the festive
house; and his two old guardians came close to
the party, ere they, too, followed in his steps.
At last, they gained the yard before the
small farmer's door; and the first thing that
challenged notice was dark groups of beg-
gars, strewed all around, men and women, old
and young ; some sitting, or loungingly reclin-
ing on the ground; some standing; but all
laughing, or gabbling loudly, or smoking ; while
a few sang out, at the top of their lungs, the
most festive, congratulatory, or ecstatic songs.
These people seemed, in fact, quite at home —
quite at their ease ; their stations taken up al-
together as matter of right, and themselves
deposited here as part of the wedding-furni-
ture. Their bearing showed a conclusion that
there was abundance of food in prepara-
tion ; " enough an' lavins" for them all. Not
less than one hundred could have been assem-
bled ; and perhaps, confident of their numbers,
their state of easy expectation of good treatment
might be intended and received as a compliment
to the substance and consideration of the house.
*ETE& OF THE CASTLE. 107
Standing alone, in a remote corner, his back
resting against the low wall that surrounded the
yard, his person and head drawn up, and his
eyes bent on the ground as usual, appeared
Padhre-na-Moulh. Beer had been distributed
among the mendicants ; and one or two came
to him, in a way half brotherly, half sneering,
to offer a draught. He shook his head in
token of refusal. Another, producing his own
travelling horn, invited him to taste " a dhrop
o* mouth-wather," meaning whiskey. This kind-
ness he also declined in a similar way. His old
friends now entered the yard, and walking to
the pump, procured a bowl of water, and
brought it to him. Of the primitive beverage
he drank sparingly; then pacing towards the
middle of the yard, stooped and gathered up a
few raw potatoes, dropt there accidentally, put
them into his wallet, and finally strode beyond
the precincts of the house of feasting, and sat
down in a near field, as if to await the attend-
ance of Thomaus and Daddy Clayton, who could
not so soon be expected to give up the chances
of the day. Ellen thought she might read, in
his present proceedings, the conduct of a man
upon whom the trade of begging the morsel
that supported him was necessitously imposed ;
108 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
who came, therefore, upon a kind of professional
day, to a chief mart for his business ; but who,
having discharged his obligation by picking
up the few potatoes, turned from a scene of
human happiness in which he either would
not or durst not participate. While she regard-
ed him, and, indeed, while all her party paused
a moment to take in the scene around, Mr. Fe-
nelly beckoned the two old men, Peter's com-
panions ; whispered them, when they came to
his stirrup; and they were immediately ob-
served, with looks of mortification and ill-hu-
mour, to join the poor solitary in the outer
field, cause him to arise, and follow in his foot-
steps across the road, and then down a zig-zag
path, that, owing to the high situation of To-
bin's house, was seen* to wind over successive
eminences to the ruins by the river's side.
The party alighted, gave their horses to a
crowd of zealous grooms in attendance, and step-
ped to the house. At the open door they were
received by the vanithee, dressed in her richest ~
clothes, with a face of great business and im-
portance, and yet with a commanding self-
possession, as if all the bustle around her was
no unusual thing, and as if no one should have
to say that it had put her out of countenance
PETER OF THE CASTLE* 109
or equilibrium. She seemed to feel strongly,
nay, awfully, the responsibility of her situa-
tion, but to experience, at the same time, a
full consciousness of supporting it without
difficulty. At her back appeared her " ho-
nest man o' the house," attended by four or five
strapping sons, from all of whom the visitors
had to undergo, (after respectful obeisances)
many hearty shakes of the hand, thanks, deep
and lively, for the honour done to the poor ca-
bin, and cead-mille-phalteagh, ovet and over
again. Then, preceded by the dame, and sur-
rounded by the men as a guard of honour, they
were allowed to march along.
The first apartment traversed was, of course,
the kitchen ; and here were such immense fires;
such roasting and broiling; and such a fuss
among such a crowd of women, — half composed
of the real domestics of the house, half of all the
bride's elderly friends and relations, come far
and near to assist in the preparation of her wed-
ding feast ; — and such an oppressive heat ; and
such loud talking among them, as they gave
twenty different orders about dressing the vi-
ands ; and such a steam, and such a fume, that,
after a look or two, quite sufficient to prove
they need not be hungry for the evening, the
110 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
guests, still following the vanithee, and enclosed
by their body guard, were glad to pass into an
This was a bed-chamber, containing a cur*
tained bed, " dacent to look at," and a rude
chest of drawers at the other side. A flank of
damsels were sitting on the edge of the bed, who,
$s soon as the visitors entered, and that they
had stood up to drop their " curtshies, ,> seemed
to stand on the defensive ; glance prepared for
glance, and a smart wprd for every question.
They were dressed in white ; or, as nearly in
white as circumstances would allow; and had on
close-fitting caps, with great bunches of white
ribbon at one side. It need not further be de-
clared that they were the friends and handmaids
of the bride-elect, who, in the back-ground, sit-
ting sideways, on the other edge of the bed, and
pretending to be undistinguished among the
throng, hung back, in appropriate timidity, until
she was formally, and not without some native
graces of action and manner on her part, intro-
duced by her father to the important strangers.
As the bustle of presentation was just sub*
siding, the vanithee, putting her face to the lit-
tle window of the chamber, while the clink of
horse's hoofs echoed in the yard, accompanied
PETER OF THE CASTLE. Ill
by a congratulatory hum among the swarm of
beggars, gave a cry of great interest and plea-
sure, and adding, " Miss Rosy, Miss Rosy ! —
your thousand pardons, genteels — come, gor-
900ns, come — w hurried out, attended by her
husband and sons. Mr. Pratt, also looking into
the yard, saw, descending from a beautiful long-
tailed little palfrey, the young lady about whom
he latently felt so much curiosity. A grave-
looking servant, that had ridden with her to the
house, came respectfully to proffer his assistance
as she quitted her saddle ; but waving her hand
towards an elderly female whom he had left sit-
ting in a pillion upon his own horse, Miss Rosa-
lie D'Arnell bounded lightly, gracefully, and
only with the energy of youthful spirit, to the
A moment after, the hand of her old com-
panion drawn under her arm, and preceded by
the dame of the house, and, as the first party
had been treated, surrounded by the male
guard of honour, the young lady entered the
little chamber. Mr. Pratt inwardly acknow-
ledged, with a mixture of surprise, admiration,
and discontent, the superior attractions Miss
D'Arnell at a first view presented. She was
tall ; roundly, but elegantly formed ; her com-
112 - PETEE OF THE CASTLE.
plexion almost brown, yet glowing with sub-
dued colour ; her hair and eyes black, and alto-
gether something of a foreign character stamped
on her features. Her air was lofty ; but not of
the kind of loftiness he had been led to antici-
pate ; for blandness and smiles tempered it to
fascination. She wore a riding habit of green
cloth, of which the flowing skirts were tucked
up and thrown over her right arm ; and, instead
of the man's hat generally affected, with a very
bad grace, by our fair young equestrians, a
Spanish-shaped one, of black silk, looped up
in front, and half hid in a clustering plume
of black ostrich feathers. In face, gait, expres-
sion, and costume, her elderly associate seemed
decidedly a foreigner.
When, with rapid step, Miss D'ArneH en-
tered the little, apartment, Ellen was sitting
beside the bride, holding the hand she had just
shaken, and in the act of pronouncing a name,
in consequence of Kitty TobhTs inquiries, that
brought tears to her eyes, and made her heart
pant in her bosom. The young ladies ex-
changed glances, as the new guest, observing
Ellen, stopped a moment at the threshold;
mutual blushes, perhaps the result of a com-
mon thought, crimsoned their cheeks; and a
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 113
shade of embarrassment began to steal over the
circle, when Miss D'Arnell rallied, advanced
smiling to the bride, took her hands, made her
some pretty compliments, in pure English, but
with a few peculiarities of accent : then turned
gracefully, freely, yet, perhaps, condescendingly,
to Ellen, saluted her also; then to the old
priest; and, while Mr. Pratt's courtierly bow
received but a slight and queen-like notice, seem-
ed to lavish upon him the greetings of a close
and kindly intimacy.
A renewed embarrassment might have
ensued, were it not soon understood that the
introduction of the guests into this apart-
ment, was merely for the purpose of allowing
them to disencumber themselves of their out-
ward dress, here officiously to be laid up till
the hour of departure.* As Miss D'Arnell,
Ellen, Mr. Pratt, and the priest, accordingly
proceeded to doff their habits, hats, and great
coats, one of the bride's brothers^ the best
looking of the guard of honour, addressed the
former mentioned lady, with a well-managed
waggery of face, voice, and manner, peculiarly
Irish. " Tundher-an'-ouns, Miss! — we ax par-
don" — pretending to be shocked at his own
abruptness — " but, what *s the rason, wid your
114 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
ladyship's lave, you come with the boots on ?"
as his eye glanced dolefully at her feet— •" by
the powers o' man, Miss, you '11 want the use
o* the legs to-night, an' sure its kilt you '11 be
with them boults on you, God bless you."
Laughing, in a kind of tolerating good -hu-
mour, while her old bonne muttered " fi done?
and stepped close to her side, Miss D'Arnell
called to her servant, and soon satisfied her
guardsman that she had foreseen she should
" want the use of her feet :" the man producing
a pair of dancing slippers, which she explained
were to replace her boots at the proper time.
This attention to circumstances on the part of
the greatest guest, and the bountiful wish it
showed to come prepared for the sports of the
night, did not fail to command a loud murmur
of delight from every creature present, and
Mr. Pratt felt uncomfortable at seeing his
drooping daughter, fully beloved as she was,
only second in consideration and interest, where
he had reckoned on seeing her predominate, par-
ticularly as the only child of the bridegroom's
" Musha, the light of our eyes you war,
Miss Rosy," resumed the lad who had provoked
the scene — " an' them is the darlins o 1 dancin -
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 115
pumps, sure enough," taking them from the
servant : — " by Gar, the sight o' them 'ud make
one dance without the piper — if they'd only go
on a body," — laying one of them along the sole
of his 4< own large shoe ; " well, God be praised!
the likes of sich a little foot as them does for, we
never hard of afore."
Again laughing, and, perhaps, blushing in a
degree, at the sabdued Irish flattery thus paid
her, on a point about which, we have been told,
all ladies are anxious, Miss D'Arnell, inatten-
tive to the surprise expressed in the glances,
whispers, and fidgets of her old companion, led
the way, handed out by Mr. Fenelly, from the
chamber; Ellen, Mr. Pratt, and the young
" She must have heard the report of Redmond's
present situation," thought Mr. Pratt, as all got
into motion ; " but it troubles her not ; she does
not, cannot love him."
The ladies and gentlemen, attended aS before,
were again ushered through the heat, gabble,
and smells of the kitchen, into another room at
its opposite side. It was a neat, earthen-floored,
white-washed apartment, of moderate size, hung
round with those large hide wood prints of
scripture subjects, (having explanatory rhymes
116 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
at the bottom) that are to be purchased for
about one penny each at Irish fairs and mar-
kets ; particularly remarkable for the hideous
faces and forms they display as likenesses of holy
persons ; and which may be truly designated as
frightful if not impious caricatures of saints,
angels, and higher beings.
Here the visitors found a large assemblage of
young and old ; the young folk predominating,
however. A piper, seated near the hearth, on
a three-legged stool, was blowing away, with
might and main, while two sets, of two couples
each, danced — as well as they could manage it
in the limited space prescribed — the old reel of
four. This was premature, jt may be remarked :
before the marriage feast, nay, even before the
marriage itself. Yes ; but, time to spare, and
a piper at hand, such a group of " boys and
girls" might keep quiet in Holland, England,
or even perhaps in Scotland ; not in Ireland.
Around, by the walls, the lookers-on sat or
stood, all, of every age and sex, in their holiday
garbs ; best wigs, best caps, best coats ; and
every face looking a blithe anticipation of the
long night of mirth and fun that was surely to
The entrance of the important guests gave no
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 117
interruption to the dancers, if we except the
curtsies adroitly dropt by the female Jigurantes,
in the evolutions of the figure of the reel, and
one or two ecstatic shouts and capers of recogni-
tion vouchsafed by their partners. But among
the old folk, and the young people waiting for
their turn " on the floor," much anxious and
smiling bustle took place, which, perhaps, had
ended in some confusion, but that, a few minutes
after the party entered, all were summoned to
the nuptial feast.
Instantly, the piper stopped; the dancers be-
came fixed in one position; and every counte-
nance grew grave at the near approach of the
time for behaving " dacent." Still heralded by
the quiet, all-important vanithee, and enclosed
by their body-guard, the superior guests were a
third time escorted through the now-subdued re-
gion of the kitchen, to a door which opened into
the yard, where they met the bride, her favoured
handmaid, and other friends ; and then across
part of the yard, to the barn ; which was, and,
on all such occasions is, the banquet-hall in Ire-
land ; and on other occasions, too, of a very dif-
ferent character, by any further allusioji to which
we will not damp the present time of mirth and
118 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
Around three sides of the walls of the spa-
cious barn, tables, constructed for the evening,
were ranged, with — about that place called the
head — chairs for the more considerable guests,
and, at either side of the remainder of the board,
forms for all comers. Inside, at the walls, there
was barely room for the people to sit down ; as
much as possible of the area of the barn being
kept free for dancing.
Before the chair which the priest was to oc-
cupy, appeared a huge mass of " corned beef,"
bolstered by a bed of* greens, carrots, and pars-
nips, and reeking with a fine steam, that rolled
up in volumes to the wattled roof. To it suc-
ceeded, at either side, legs of mutton, boiled ;
shoulders of mutton, roasted ; turkeys and "sa-
lary" sauce, (no bad things) ; sides of bacon,
roast geese, fowls, chickens, hams,, legs of mut-
ton again; and shoulders and saddles again;
and varieties of the feathered tribe, again and
again, all the tables round — until the eye became
bewildered in tracing the abundant monotony.
To the priest's hand were laid hpttles of wine,
and more awaited his call in a basket at the back
of his chair. Cold punch, in great jugs, attend-
ed on the company lower down. Beer barrels,
propped in the corners, yielded a dull, plethoric
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 119
sound, declaratory of their well-filled condition,
to whatevetf hasty heel knocked against them, in
Crowds of inferior guests poured in after our
party, and places were taken, and the feast be-
gan. Mr. Fenelly, appalled by the mountain of
beef he saw he had to cut through, requested
his " coadjutor 1 ' to sit by him, one and the same
with himself, as it were, to render such assist-
ance, on the present practical occasion, as might
indeed be worthy of his official title. Upon Mr.
Fenelly's right sat the bride, according to eti-
quette ; upon his left, or rather upon the left
of his fellow-labourer, the brideVmaid ; next to
the bride, Miss D'Arnell ; next to her, Ellen;
next to her, the old foreign lady, looking very
much amazed; then the vanithee; then the
bride's friends; and then the female friends, in
general, of the family and occasion, all that side
of the table round, according to rank and stand-
ing m the world, until they ended in the poor
relations, followers, and even helpers and ser-
vants ; each and every, be it remembered, of the
same sex : for the division of sexes, at the two
sides of the tables, was, though not a general
practice, as remarkable as the similar divisions
to be oljseived in a synagogue. Heading the op-
120 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
posite rank, appeared Mr. Pratt, the first, after
the bridesmaid, upon the left of the priests;
below him, the " man o' the house ;" a row of
" sthrong farmers" followed; that is, the rich-
est of the class to which old Tobin belonged,
with Darby Roach and his younger sons among
them ; after them a more numerous string of
farmers and farmers' sons, of less degree ; until,
as at the women's side, very humble folk, includ-
ing pipers and fiddlers, closed the array. But, to
Mr. Pratt's surprise, Ristharde Roach, the hero
of tj^e evening, no where appeared. His land-
lord looked round for him in vain ; he certainly
was not to be seen.
Dinner, or supper, or whatever it may pro-
perly be called, went on. Legs and shoulders
of mutton, geese, and turkeys, hams and fowls
disappeared in a trice, as if they had never been.
Mr. Pratt officiated at a goose, of which, when
finally carved, the only piece left on the dish
was that too well secured by his fork. But the
most general attack was made upon the heap of
beef at the head, which, we are forced to admit,
we cannot describe by a technical name ; it was
too monstrous for a round merely; the roar-
ing Bull of Bashan, supposing him vast and eat-
able as he was famous, could not supply such
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 12l
a one ; and yet it looked round, too; and, for
aught we know, might be an entire animal,
horns and hoofs excepted, coiled up into that
form, like a collared eel. In truth and reality,
it completely hid the two priests when they in-
nocently attempted to sit down to their task;
and it was only by standing erect to their full
height, that the gentlemen, working together
with two great carving knives and forks, while
all the time their brows teemed in the downright
labour of the office, could answer the incessant
demands made upon them, tor we repeat, no
matter what other dish might be assailed, first
or last, every creature in the barn would have a
plate of beef from €€ his reverence.*' And amid
all this hurry of supplying and consuming, great
was the din of dishes and plates, knives and
forks, glasses, jugs, tumblers, and even wooden
" noggins ;" of mastication and swallowing
hearty draughts, and smacking lips after them ;
of asking and assenting ; of gabbling aside and
across to each other, in quick jest and repartee,
suggested by some feature or circumstance of
the occasion ; while, now and then, a young fel-
low, whose very heart was in the business, and
whose veins swelled too high with present and
anticipated pleasure, or some old queer-wigged
VOL. III. g
122 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
sire, who unused to liquor during dinner, had
hobnobbed too freely, owned the influence of the
joyous uproar, (or* perhaps, deemed it a war-
rant for the freedom) by emitting, in a short in-
terval of eating or drinking, an expressive —
" whoo r — which, echoing to the beggars in the
yard, was caught up, and duly acknowledged.
Still, to the increased surprise of Mr. Pratt, Bis-
tharde, the reputed bridegroom, did not appear.
The only persons who behaved with any
considerable degree of quietness during the
meal, were the bride, her mother, and her five
brothers. The young girl herself acted her
part — we do not use the phrase in an invidious
sense — well and evenly. She seemed serious,
studiously polite in her returns to the various
attentions paid her by the priests and her grand
guests, as if she had reflected on the important
character she was about to assume, and already
prepared herself to wear it with due dignity;
but, added to all this, there was a pensiveness
about her, and even a tearful suffusion in her
eyes, and an occasional tremor of her lip, which
scarcely could be accounted for by the theory
of maidenly fears and regrets. In fact, she was
thinking, now and then — but without any im-
proper reference or association— of the present
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 123
fate of her foster-brother, Redmond. Her mo-
ther's demureness of manner has already been
noticed. Her brothers did not sit to the table,
but walked about, from guest to guest, ascer-
taining the wants or wishes of each, or suggest-
ing gratifications of appetite ; or superintending
different removes, which rapidly occurred, such
as the replacing a roast shoulder of mutton with
a boiled leg of the same ; or helping those of
the servants who were not, for the moment, en-
joying themselves, to visit the beer barrels, or
deposit jugs of punch on the table ; and all this the
young men went through with a gravity, a pro-
priety, and an ease of deportment, that remind-
ed one of well-trained stewards at a more fa-
shionable public dinner; and that certainly gave
a pleading notion of the sincere and simple ear-
nestness of the old hospitality.
We must hasten to announce the end of the
feast. All claimants had been silenced, the table
cleared, a fresh supply of wine and punch placed
on it, still no bridegroom was forthcoming ; Mr.
Fenelly stood up to pronounce a grace ; it was
over; every eye turned on the bride, or to
the door ; a silence only slightly broken by sly
whispers and smothered titters ensued ; foot-
steps sounded in the yard ; an Amazonian wench
124 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
entered with a cake, almost twice as great as a
Cheshire cheese, and placed it at the soggar^s
right hand. The two clergymen, with features
in which solemnity and good hopes, as well as
good-humour, struggled hard, began to cut and
delve it very mechanically. The bride looked
down upon her lap, and the paleness that comes
from a sense of a rapidly approaching crisis,
spread over her cheeks. Other steps sounded
near the door, and blushes, quick and bright,
chased that paleness away. Two young men
entered; and the subdued cheer of welcome,
and the jest and jibe that instantly broke the si-
lence, proclaimed the bridegroom and his brides-
man. Their absence, until this moment, was
all according to biensearife. In Ireland, upon
the day of her marriage, a country bride is sup-
posed to know nothing of what is going to hap-
pen ; crowds of young women, and old ones too,
are collected to hold her sacred from premature
contact with her destined husband ; he, like a
great oaf, reverences the etiquette too, keeping
far away under the surveillance of his " young
man; v and just at the nick of time he happens
to come in, as we see in the present instance,
quite unconscious, as it were, and with his
" God save all here,' 1 as his jeering friends call
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 125
it And the whole of this is " dacency " and
" manners. 11
Mr. Pratt looked hard at Ristharde, scarce
recognizing, in the tight-made, light-clad fellow
that now appeared, the same person who, cover-
ed with the dirt of the fields, his knees burst
through his small-clothes, and his top-coat hang,
nig clumsily about him, had come with his fa-
ther, Darby, to invite him to the nuptials. Bis-
tharde's wedding suit consisted of a close-made
buck-skin, white yarn stockings, and small- point-
ed pumps; a flaming yellow vest, a blue coat, to-
lerably fine, and tolerably cut ; a richly figured
silk cravat, a smooth chin, and a smartly crop-
ped head. The only thing about him like his
former self was his ostentatious sheepiness, as,
stepping over the threshold of the barn, after
his bridesman, and keeping one hand in his
breeches' pocket, and holding his head down,
he pretended, at thirty years of age, to be
ashamed and out of countenance before the
company, and on account of what he was go-
ing to do. But a certain admixture of waggery
now ran through this affectation, which Mr.
Pratt had not observed upon the day before
alluded to, and which, to a skilful eye, fully
redeemed "Masther Ristharde" from the charge
126 PETEE OF THE CASTLE.
of real poltroonery. In fact, his manner, and
particularly his faint sly smile, seemed to say, —
" Look at me, neighbours ; God help a poor
boy like me ! musha, see how ashamed I am i"
By some simultaneous movement, fussy, but
regular, and of which it might be difficult to
explain the complex machinery, bride and bride-
groom confronted each other, on the middle of
the barn floor, a few seconds after Ristharde's
entrance. The girl stood with her father at one
side, her bridesmaid at the other, her mother
and brothers at her back, and Miss D^Arnell,
Ellen, and many humbler female friends around.
Ristharde was also supported by his father,
Darby, his " young man," Mr. Pratt, and seve-
ral others. The rest of the company stood up
in their places. The old priest put on a slight
badge of his clerical character, opened his mis-
sal, and making the sign of the cross with his
outstretched hand, approached the young couple.
A profound silence at last prevailed.
The clergyman first demanded of the rela-
tions of both parties, if their full consent had
been given to the nuptials. The old vanithee,
and the two old fathers, rendered a hearty
affirmative, while their voices were low and bro-
ken, however, and their own acknowledgment of
PETEK OP THE CASTLE. 12?
thus abandoning all future parental authority,
brought tears to their eyes. Kitty Tobin quick-
ly caught the infection, and wept and sobbed
outright; and even Ristharde, to say nothing
of the bridesmaid and the near connexions and
friends, male and female, snuffled, and changed
from one leg to the other, to keep up his cou-
rage. The next question proposed by the priest
was directed to himself.
u Have you, Richard Roach, given your pro-
mise of marriage to any other woman ?"
" Och, the divil's the one ! — we ax God's par-
don, your Reverence, an* your own ten thou-
sand pardons" — (he had really been thrown off
his guard, half indignant at the supposition)—
" but never 's the one, we mane, far and wide,
from a child up."
The commencement of this answer had nearly
disturbed the gravity of all around, but that,
with a stern brow, Mr. Fenelly brought Rist-
harde to task for his most untimely tendency to
an imprecation ; and then the clergyman at once
proceeded in his office. Before commencing
the ceremony, he addressed himself to bride and
bridegroom, upon the nature of the engagement
into which they were about to enter ; its divine
ordination and the object of that ordination ;
128 PETER OP THE CASTI.E.
flie dispositions in which it ought to be em-
braced ; and its future duties and responsibili-
ties. To expect a blessing on their nuptials he
told them they were bound to appear before
God and him, in the state of grace, that is, free
from mortal sin, and full of contrition and sor-
row for the crime and errors of their former
life. He told them that their chief impulse in
becoming man and wife ought to arise from a wish
to obey a divine command. He warned them,
that it was only by loving, cherishing and prac-
tising forbearance towards each other, they could
hope to fulfil the common duties of their future
stations, and at the same time, secure mutual
happiness ; and should God bless them in an
offspring, (Ristharde again shuffled on his legs,
and some young girls smiled and bit their lips,
and others hung down their heads,) he enforced
upon them, as their paramount duty, the bring-
ing up such children in the love and fear of Him
who gave them.
After this discourse, which was impressively
delivered, the real business of the evening
promptly went on. There was some unneces-
sary delay, towards the middle of the ceremony,
on account of Bistharde's repeatedly mistaking
the pocket in which he thought he had put up
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 129
the ring ; but, " as all his pockets were very
new, and by coorse, very sthrange to him,"
(his own explanation), " it was no great won-
dher that he didn't know their ins-an-outs, pat^
at the first going off." In a few minutes,
however, the knot was tied fast enough ; and
then, to conclude the whole, the new husband
and wife, their friends, and all in the barn,
knelt down at the priesfs instance, to join him
in a devout prayer for a blessing on the mar,,
The first movement of the old clergyman to
rise, was the signal for a scene of extraordinary
and uproarious vivacity. At a rustic wedding
in Ireland, it is a great point of chuckling am-
bition, among the young fellows assembled, to
try, not only who shall snatch the first congra-
tulatory kiss from the new made wife, after her
lord has saluted her, but, if possible, who shall
be beforehand with his very self, in that plea-
sant ceremonial. Accordingly, even while the
whole company knelt to join in the priest's last
prayer, Mr. Pratt, prepared for the coming
event, noticed the anticipating glances of many
a lad, turned sideways, towards the middle
of the floor, and the anticipating movements
too of disposing the limbs into good order for a
180 PETER OF THE CAST LB.
couching spring; while Ristharde, on his
part, returned the reconnoitring regards of his
friends, and was seen to shuffle, very cautiously,
on his knees, still closer to his bride. One light-
limbed, short youth, who, during dinner had
been remarkable for the premature " screeches"
that now and then rung through the barn, and
.who seemed a compound of the most restless ani-
mal spirits, particularly attracted Mr. Pratt's
notice. Unlike the generality of his compa-
nions, who knelt on the ground, leaning over
their form, he knelt on the form, leaning over
the table, one leg slyly raised, and propping
his body for a sudden effort, while his light blue
•eyes fixed, sparkling intensely and almost fero-
ciously, on poor Kitty Tobin, or, as she must
now be called, Roach ; and scarcely had the old
priest begun to rise, and the young couple to
follow his example, when, like a shell out of a
mortar, this fellow darted with a high and nim-
ble vault across the table, scattering, as he des-
cribed his parabola, glasses, jugs, and plenty of
good liquor, and breaking through every rank,
male and female, until, with a " hurroo ! the
first kiss for Jim Burne !" — he \anded at the
bride's side, and clasped her in his arms. — But
Ristharde, to his credit, foiled the attack, vigo-
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 131
rous and well-concerted as it was. In fact, he
had especially feared the nimbleness and evi-
dent intentions of this very Jim Burne ; so that,
even while his young wife rose up, his own arm
was round her neck, pressing her down; and
just when the treacherous foe sprung upon her,
he had only to use the superior strength of his
disengaged hand, to keep back the mad fellow's
head, until he ravished, himself, the initiating
favour which was certainly his due. Jim was
therefore obliged to content himself with kissing
the bride the first of all his companions, who
scrambled, in groups, to enjoy the honour at
second, third, and twentieth rate ; and Kitty still
had to undergo the farewell and weeping salutes
of her parents, brothers, and young and old
friends, before she could again sit at the nuptial
And now began the gathering in of the sog-
garth's crop. Now the bride-cake went rpund ;
each piece taken up being replaced by an offer-
ing, according to the circumstances of the con-
sumer, while the "God bless you, God bless
you !* of Mr. Fenelly and his coadjutor escaped
often and zealously.
Still, " by course of manners,' 1 Ristharde re-
mained separated from his bride, though one
1$2 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
would think he had at last earned the right of
sitting closely by her side. She returned to her
place at Mr. Fenelly's right hand ; he was only
allowed a tite-cMite with her bridesmaid. The
wedding-cake completed its revolution, and the
symptoms of a new scene became visible. Two
pipers, blind old fellows, sleek in face and per-
son, though rather tattered in attire, shambled
from among the humbler guests, at the end of
the barn, and took their seats on two stools, in
a corner. They were quickly followed by two
little fiddlers, thin and half-starved, (until that
evening,) but active and frisky as kittens, who
also seated themselves, in virtue of their supe-
rior craft, before the pipers ; and, the orchestra
thus assembled, a jarring noise of scraping,
thrumming, squeaking and grunting, proclaimed
that nuisance for which the most fashionable
orchestras are celebrated, namely, the prefatory
tuning of their instruments.
No sooner had the discord begun than a seri-
ous consultation might be observed between the
bridesman and the vanithee, which we are able
to explain. In the absence of a guest of high
degree it was the " young man's " privilege to
dance the first dance with the bride. Now Mr
Pratt was a guest of distinction ; but, query — •
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 133
whether he was not also too grave, or too stiff
in his limbs, to get through the rapid move-
ments of an Irish jig? — And, indeed, a few
nods and words from the gentleman soon de-
cided that he thought he was, and up jumped
the bridesman to make his scrape to Kitty
She dropped her curtsey, of course, and gave
her hand ; but fresh tears streamed from her
eyes, as, in passing behind Ellen, she said, loud
enough to be overheard by Miss DlArnell and
Mr. Pratt^ too,-^-" Avoch, Miss, I thought it
was another I 'd dance the first step with, this
All knew she alluded to Redmond. Ellen
grew pale, and hung down her head ; Miss
D'Arnell blushed, and did the same thing ; and
Mr. Pratt said, expressively, — " And I, too,
Kitty : and you cannot regret the disappoint-
ment more than I."
Additional embarrassment followed this re-
ply, until Ristharde shyly came up to Miss
D'Arnell, stopped before her, and performed
his best bow. The young lady, recovering from
her blush, with a gracious and radiant smile,
rose up at his demand ; the set for a reel was
completed ; the orchestra struck out; amid cries
184 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
of joy and exultation, the dance began ; and
for some time, nothing further was said, or
seemed to be felt on the subject; no doubt
Mr. Pratt himself wished to proceed no farther
in it, until Ellen should, in her turn, after Miss
D'Arnell, be out of the way, dancing, as any
discussion might contradict the account she had
received of Redmond's absence.
When, however, the bride and Miss D'Arnell
had returned to their seats, and that Ellen,
yielding to the pressing entreaties of her fa-
ther, had answered the modest claim of one of
Kitty's brothers, and proceeded with him to
the middle of the floor, Mr. Pratt renewed the
" Yes, Kitty, you cannot be more sorry for
the unaccountable absence of your foster-bro-
ther than I am."
" Avoch, Sir, an 1 that's sorry enough, if all
they say be thrue," answered Kitty.
" Why, what do they say?" in apparent
fi Unaccountable, Sir?" repeated the old
priest, distantly, and as if he had not heard the
bride's reply, nor Mr. Pratt's question arising x
out of it — " the boy's absence is accounted for,
PETER OF THE CASTLE. . 135
" Pray let some one tell me how, Sir ; for /
cannot account for it, and I shall most anx-
iously receive the information of others."
M Then yon cannot surely have countenanced
the report, Sir ?" continued the clergyman.
Kitty and Miss D'Arnell looked up, and fixed
their eyes on Mr. Pratt.
" I do not precisely apprehend what you
mean, Mr. Fenelly. Several idle persons have,
indeed, afflicted me with an account of my
young ward having, since his departure from my
house, taken up with strange associates; how
true or how false that story may be, I cannot
tell ; I can only hope it is utterly false ; my
sincere love for the boy, and, indeed, my know-
ledge of his character, feelings, and principles,
compel me to discredit it ; but "
u The friends of both, Mr. Pratt," interrupt-
ed Miss D^Arnell, " of you and of the young
gentleman, must rejoice at that avowal."
" God bless him for it !" added Kitty.
" I do but my duty, and give way to my own
sincere thoughts when I make it, madam," re-
sumed Mr. Pratt, while the lady's vivacity
created a secret sinking of his heart ; — " and so
convinced am I that poor Redmond, getting
impatient of control in his professional studies,
136 PBTER OF THE CASTLE.
has only taken a wild trip to Dublin or Lon-
don, perhaps, that all my inquiries concerning
him have, in total indifference to the rumour
spoken of, been hitherto made in the hopes of
finding him in one or other of those cities. But,
as I was about to remark, the place of his ab-
sence, wherever it may be, would not give the
cause of his absence ; and yet that was the
point, Mr. Fenelly, to which you alluded, I
believe; and for which, if I understand you,
you meant to say there was some certain report,
" It was, Sir."
" Then, Sir, I have only to say that, apart
from the probable cause I have before mention*
ed, namely, Redmond's dislike of his studies,
and his resenting the zealous efforts made to di-
rect his mind to them, I am quite at a loss to
account for his disappearance from my house."
" Thank God, then," said the old priest.
" Thank God," echoed Miss D'Arnell. Kitty
uttered, joyously, a similar ejaculation.
" May I ask you what you mean, Mr. Fe-
nelly ?" inquired Mr. Pratt.
" Yes, Sir ; and I will tell you with pleasure.
Since you know nothing of any other cause, the
horrible report that attributes another must be
PET BR OF THE CASTLE. 137
totally false ; because, to have the least truth, it
could have come only from you."
" Exactly. I do not even know the nature of
" Then it is as well, perhaps, not to trouble
you with it, Mr. Pratt. 11
" Except that as the guardian, as well of the
reputation as of the person of Mr. Redmond, 11
said Miss D'Arnell, " this gentleman ought to
be made acquainted with every thing which
concerns him ; particularly with a slander that
tends to degrade the young man for ever. 1 '
" True, my dear, 11 resumed Mr. Fenelly.
" True, indeed, 11 resumed Mr. Pratt; " and
therefore I hope I may press my question, and
again ask what the report is ?*"
" One that goes to make your ward disgraced
and dishonoured in his parentage, Sir, 1 ' said the
" Indeed I— 11 pausing, and then adding, in a
tone of surprise and regret, and as if half speak-
ing to himself — " how, in the name of Heaven,
could that have gone out ? v
" No matter, since it is so false, Sir.* 1
" And since the gentleman says it is," added
" Avoch, the blessing on his heart, I say
188 PETEB OF THE CASTLE.
again, for spakin' the word," sobbed Kitty — " I
always said it was a black story."
" I never authorized it," resumed Mr. Pratt,
sighing deeply, as he looked on the table. The
priest and Miss D'Arnell exchanged glances.
" Then I have your authority, for the sake
of our young friend, to contradict it, Mr,
" Sir? — why, yes — that is*— in fact, Mr. Fe-
nelly, this much I say ; whatever may be the
necessitous mystery attendant on my ward's pa-
rentage, I alone am, I believe, the sole person
living in whose breast it is deposited, — and de-
posited, too, under seal of inviolable secrecy: so,
Sir, you can draw your own conclusions. You
see I am not authority — am not accountable for
the impertinent and inexplicable rumour; and
— I beg your pardon — but as Miss Pratt now
returns to us, we will, if you please, waive the
subject;-— there are reasons, Mr. Fenelly, why
we should ;— -you perceive her delicate state of
health; and on account of certain impressions
studiously made by the certain person we spoke
of, any hint on the matter might prove very
injurious ; in fact, Sir, I must try to keep these
reports, and this gossip, close from the poor
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 139
Mr. Pratt spoke in a whisper, but in a whis-
per sufficiently loud to be overheard by Miss
D'Arnell : and it was overheard by the young
lady, and produced the effect the speaker in-
tended. Her dark brow reddened and knit; her
dark eye flashed ; and, in a second after, the
blood rushed back to her heart, and her heav-
ings and pantings could scarce be restrained
even by the strong spirit that strove to sway
them. As Ellen came to sit by her side, she
rose up haughtily, and was about to address
her old companion, as if with a command to
retire, when, to the dismay of all around, Miss
D^Arnell, fixing her eyes on a pane of glass at
Mr. Prates back, that, during the day, admit-
ted light into the barn, interrupted herself with
a short shrill scream, and again sunk in her
chair; and the surprise of the hearers had
not a second's time to subside, when Ellen, also
staring in the same direction, echoed her cry,
and clung trembling to her rival.
" What is the matter, my love ?* inquired
Mr. Pratt, after having turned his eyes, with a
hundred others, (for the music and*«dancing in-
stantly stopped) to the little window, and seen
" Redmond, Sir, — it was Redmond, looking
140 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
in upon us !" answered Ellen : — " Miss D'Ar-
nell, was it not ?"
" Absurdity, child," said her father.
" It was your ward, Sir," observed Miss
" His face, an' no other's," added Kitty, who,
without any show of lively emotion, seemed ab-
sorbed in the little event ; " Ristharde ! Mick !"
beckoning to her husband and one of her bro-
thers — " let ye go out an* see if it wasn't
" Do so, Ristharde," said Mr. Pratt, " and
tell him that, every thing forgotten and for-
given, I shall be made very happy by his pre-
The two young men withdrew. Little was
said till they returned to inform the party that
Redmond did not appear about the house. Miss
D'Arnell made no remark. Ellen and the bride
were not satisfied; and, at their joint entrea-
ties, and the added request of Mr. Pratt, a fresh
party set off to institute inquiries, and a search .
through the neighbourhood, and also to call, if
necessary, at that gentleman's house, who now
professed himself so interested, that he would
only wait the arrival of Cotteril, and his men
at arms, to look after the business himself.
Meantime he urged that, on his or his ward's
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 141
account, the mirth of the evening might not
be interrupted; Ellen seconded him; and the
dance was blithely resumed by the humble
guests; while Ristharde gave a new piece of
information, on a different subject. Two men,
he said, father and son, tenants of a gentleman
in a distant parish, (the father lately made his
gamekeeper,) waited, abroad in the house, to
see the soggarth and Mr. Pratt, on the head of
a marriage about to be entered into,
Mr. Fenelly said, he would not see them ; he
had nothing to do with them ; let them call on
the priest of their own parish.
Ristharde explained, that the fair one who
formed the chief subject of the business, lived
in Mr. Fenelly's parish, and that, of course,
the wedding must take place under Mr. Fe-
nelly's jurisdiction. As to Mr. Pratt, there was
a crabbed point of law, touching certain set-
tlements offered by the young woman's father,
which the strangers were most anxious to sub-
mit to his honour, and to no one else, far and
near ; and they had already called at " Square
Pratt V house, for that purpose.
Still Mr. Fenellv refused to see the claimants ;
the girl's father or brothers were the only proper
persons to apply to ; the present course was irre-
142 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
gular; the hour was late, too; and two couples
more were waiting for him in the village. If he
was to speak to them at all, let them come in
the morning, to his own door.
" And what did his honour, Square Pratt, say ?"
continued Ristharde. " The two poor men look'-
ed up to his honour more than all the world
besides, for a settling of the bit o^ law, for 'em ;
an* they thravelled far that day to spake a word
to him, an** if Square Pratt woulVt see 'em that
night, they couldn't see him to-morrow, or any
day afther, no more than his reverance; for
they were behoulden to start for home, that mo-
ment, an 1 be back agin, afore cock-crow."
" Yes, Sir," said a stranger, who then enter-
ed, a decent-looking little elderly man, lightly-
limbed, clad in a green frock, the emblem of the
profession Ristharde had given him, and, wear-
ing a small patch on his right eye — u yis, your
honour, all 's threw that the boy says ; an 1 we
hope your good honour Tl not be for senchV us
home without the law we cum so far to get; me
an* my son Ned, Sir, that's waiten in hopes,
abroad in the house, your honour."
" Have deeds been drawn up, my good
man ?" asked Mr. Pratt, who felt flattered at
, PETER OF THE CASTLE. 143
the earnestness of the application from people
so far out of his district.
" Yis, Sir, if it 's the parchments your ho-
nour manes, Ned has 'em in his pocket, Sir."
" Then I will just step out to him, and not
interrupt sport here," and Mr. Pratt rose.
" Do so, dear father," said Ellen, " it may
do the poor people a service. 1 '
" God bless you, Sir ; an* many thanks ; an*
God bless you, too, Miss, an* if we stood up
against the whole world besides, never fear the
hearty good-will of Ned an* myself, an* all be-
longin' to us, to the last day you dhraw breath,"
said the man, as he was about to follow Mr.
Pratt out of the barn: " an' here, Miss" — step-
ping up to her, while ^he passed her chair,— ~
" here *s a bit of a petition, like, on another
matther, that we put into your hands for his
honour, knowhV you'll do your best with him,
for us ; only you won't open it till Square Pratt
comes back, an' then give it to himself to read,
or maybe to his reverence, there ; an* so, a good
night, an* God reward you."
Ellen, promising her influence, took a sealed
letter from the man, who then slowly left the
barn, in Mr. Pratt's steps.
144 PETEE OF THE CASTLE.
This little incident partly relieved the unea-
siness and embarrassment of Redmond's appear-
ance at the pane of glass. The old clergyman
spoke on common topics to the youug ladies, or
kindly or jocosely to the bride. Miss D'Arnell
and Ellen also addressed her, occasionally inter^
changing, between themselves, a ceremonious
and honied word : for the latter, recovered from
the surprise of seeing her lover at the window,
enjoyed good spirits in the hopes of soon hear-
ing he was safe ; and the former, repenting her
late haughtiness to her gentle rival, would show
that she was, in the first place, perfectly at her
ease, and, in the second place, graciously dis-
posed to be affable.
Kitty was agam called out to dance; Ris-
tharde and her brothers, leaving Mr. Pratt and
his clients quite alone in the house, that they
might more effectually discuss their law point,
also joined the revellers; and the mirth grew
more energetic and . boisterous than before.
More than half an hour might have elapsed,
when Ellen began to think her father staid away
very long ; but the recollection that he was en-
gaged in doing a kind service to. his humble
suitors, curbed any expression of uneasiness.
Soon after, Mr. Fenelly remarked on that gen-
PETEE OF THIS CASTLE. 145
tleman's absence, and Ellen grew alarmed. At
her instance, one of the bride's brothers went out
to see what detained him with the strange man,
and returned, looking pale and frightened, to
announce that the house was quite empty ; nei-
ther Mr. Pratt nor the new-coqaers appearing
All expressed themselves in words of surprise
or apprehension. Ellen's sensitive heart mis-
gave her. The two priests, accompanied by
a crowd of men, went towards the house to as-
certain the truth of the story, and once more
the revels stopped; and, amid whispering and
conjecturing, the throng awaited the result of
the investigation. Mr. Eenelly, his coadjutor,
and their friends, soon came back ; their fea-
tures expressing the confirmation of the first
" He has left the house with those men, to a
certainty," said the old priest.
" Murther, an' God help us !" cried Mr. Cot-
teril, as he entered, in perturbation, yet not
forgetful altogether of his usual reflective pace,
and, as he styled them, ' his asy, quite civili-
ments, 1 — " the Lord's blessin' be about all with-
in an* without here ! God save ye, God save
ye, neighbours, every one ! w softly clapping his
VOL. III. H
146 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
hands, as he pressed into the middle of the now
Altered festive hall, if we may be allowed so to
name Michael Tobirfs barn. Notwithstanding
his blandness, there was a mixture of terror in
his countenance that made him look like a
frightened ox ; while five or six servants and
helpers who accompanied him, showed the like
symptoms of agitation. " Where's the poor
masther, neighbours, dear?" Mr. Cotteril con-
tinued;-—" oh, Miss Nelly, my pettheen,
there's bad work done P'
- The throng gathered round the other servants,
who were immediately engaged in giving voci-
ferous and clamorous accounts of the occurrence
they had to detail ; often interrupting each other,
as one thought his fellow related the tale the
wrong way, or did not begin it at the right end.
The land-steward continued to address himself
to his young lady.
"Oh, Miss Nelly, Miss Nelly, whereas the
masther, till I tell him, afther a manner, the
misfort 'nate story ?"
" What is it ?" gasped Ellen.
• " Long sorry is Bill Cottheril it 's come to his
turn to say sich things to you, Miss Ellen, pet-
theen ; bud the grand fine plate is gone, every
morsel in the wide world — and the last rents,
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 147
likewise, that cum from the poor cratures o'te-
hants, and from their hard arnins the live-long
day, the poor so wis, God relieve 'em ! — " He
made a pause here, that " the poor tenants" might
have due opportunity to appreciate his kindness
to them : but the winks and other signs which
passed, unseen by him, among the poor te-
nants, who were listeners, seemed to argue that,
notwithstanding all his tact, Mr. Cotteril and his
smooth tongue went for little more than they were
worth, in general estimation — " an' nothin' left,*"
continued Mr. Cotteril, " bud the sthrong box
in the closet, that was too heavy to take iaway,
an' that they couldn't force wid their honimers,
an' their sledges, an' their crows, — an' wicked
did they curse, God forgive them, when they
war put to id to lave the same behind. 1 '
Ellen's thoughts glanced from what she now
heard, to the disappearance of her father; both
events became connected in her mind, and she
swooned in Kitty Tobin's arms.
" Who has done all this?" questioned Mr.
" Somehow or some-way, plase your reve-
rence," bowing low, " Cushneiche is the lad that
done the work for us."
" How long ago ?"
148 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
" I'm not over-bright in myself at any time,
somehow' or someway, plase your reverence, an*
what little share 6* sense God ga'.me, departed
from me, a' most out-an'-out; but I'd make
bould to say it's goin' on an hour, or there-
away, sence they left us all tied up in a bundle,
afther they had their good will o' the place : an*
it 's only now, afther a manner, somehow, we
got loose, wid God's help, an' set out here to
look for the poor masther : musha, plase your
reverence, where is he, entirely?" -
Mr. Fenelly related the fact of Mr. Pratt's
" Lord save us all, agin ! — was one iv 'em
a weeny, middle-aged man, wid a green coat on
his back, an' a black plasther on his eye ??
You describe him, exactly."
Then, by the G !" sounding one palm
against another — " Cushneiche has a hoult o 1
the masther, into the bargain."
While a murmur of astonishment and fear
ran through the barn, Mr. Cotteril, suddenly
recollecting in whose presence he stood, bowed
low, crossed his forehead with such fervour as
to leave the mark of his thumb nail behind, and
" The Lord be good to us an' save us ! — see
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 149
what I said ; — to go an* give a curse, the first
time o* my life ; for it's a way wid me to be asy
an' quite, your reverence, an 1 I ax your reve-
rence's thousand pardons."
Mr. Fenelly, not heeding him, inquired for
the note Ellen had taken from the stranger.
Miss D'Arnell, who, along with Kitty, now
attended to the insensible girl, stooped, and
picked it up from the floor. The priest saw it
had no direction on the back. He tore it open,
and read aloud, that his coadjutor and Miss
D'Arnell might hear him —
" To Miss Ellen, — Do not be frightened —
your father shall not be injured.
" Redmond. 1 *
The last signature was announced by Mr. Fe^
nelly, after much hesitation.
" Redmond !" echoed Miss D'Arnell,— « that
is false; — the note is a forgery — or his name,
at least, is forged to it;"— she had started
up, completely off her guard. The priest
approached her. .
" Patience, my child," he said* — " patience :
and now, this is no place for you to stay ; we
150 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
must get a number of the men present to join
your own servant in seeing you safe at home ; —
more of them will be required to protect your
poor little friend here," pointing to Ellen,— ■*
" and tne rest shall come with me and Cotteril
to seels, out Mr. Pratt, and, if possible, get an
explanation of all the circumstances of this ex-
« Thanks, Sir-dear Sir-for your care and
attention; — allons, ma mere* to the bewilder-,
ed old attendant. " Oh, Sir, can you believe it
of the unhappy young man ?"
" I cannot — I do not ; yet I know not what
to say. Are you sure, my dear, you saw him
at the window ? "
" Good heaven ! that brings terrible confir-
mation;- — I am sure, Sir — Good night, good
night — farewell, good young woman," to
Kitty, "and I wish you all happiness, and am
gorry for this trouble on your wedding-night."
" It's no throuble in life, Miss," put in
Bistharde, coming to his wife's side— u divil
a throuble, Kitty, a-chorra," whispering her;
" an' I '11 tell you why another time— an' you
know where," smiling roguishly,
Kitty stared at him.
" Give my love and compliments to Mis*
PETER OF THE CASTER. J§1
Pratt," continued the young lady, "and say J
hope and will pray her father may soon be re-
stored to her :— r-Ah, she revives — farewell, dear
Miss Pratt !" — her feelings had broken down the
barriers of pride and rivalry, and taught her to
sympathize with poor Ellen — " farewell ! ir kiss-
ing her — " I would stay to see you quite re-
covered, if I dared ; or if Mr. Fenelly would
permit or advise it. God be with you."
Miss D'Arnell hurried out of the barn, giv-
ing her arm to the old lady, and attended by her
servant, and the formidable posse the priest had
already appointed to be her body-guard on th£
road home. . Seated in her saddle, she gave the
rein to her fleet little steed, and set off from the*
fanner's house in the precipitancy of unchecked
and powerful emotion. Her servant called after
her to announce, respectfully, that Madame was
not yet secure on her pillion, and he, therefore,
not in readiness to attend her. The fiery young
lady heard or heeded him not, but continued
her gallop down the bosheen to the main road ;
and as nope of her rustic guards were mounted,
having not contemplated a necessity for such
great dispatch, she was therefore alone.
At a short distance from the end of the lane,
a man sprang over the fence, and flung himself
152 PETER OF THE CASTLE,
before her horse. He was haggard and agitated,
and the moonlight showed his dress to be soiled
and torn. Miss ITArnell knew him at a glance*
and pulled up.
" Redmond P she cried.
" That wretch — that outcast P he answered,
4t who only seizes this opportunity to see you, for
the last time — hear the sound of your voice, for
the last time."
" All is true then ?"
" The worst you can have heard of me is
true," he answered. " I stand before you A
branded man — the blood of a felon in my
veins — a creature whom it is disgrace to have
known — whom it would be destruction to kiiow
any longer — an accursed being ! hurled, in one
hour, from the height of worldly character, of
youthful hopes — and oh, more than all — of
the chance of an angel's love — down to the
very lowest depths of infamy. Farewell ! fare-
well I — forget me, for ever .'—call our intimacy
a hideous dream, from which you have just
awaked. You can never see me again — I shud-
der at the thought — farewell P He was rush-
ing from her —
" Stay, a moment P she cried — " only one
question— what is your present situation? — do
PETEH. OP THE CASTLE. 168
you allow this dreadful discovery to sink you,
by your own actions, lower than it could? —
where have you been lurking? — how engaged ? —
with whom ? unhappy Redmond, with whom ?
Answer me — what brought you to the barn ? —
did you know of the robber's intention to take
off your guardian ?"
" I did. And now, at least, you will not bid
me stay ; nor can I, if you bid me. I hear the noise
of the pursuit that outlaws tremble to hear,
and I must fly from it— here come your friends,
and — along with all the world— my persecutors ;
—I say, Rosalie DIArnell, we part, this night,
He darted over the fence at the side opposite
that from which he had appeared, and was
quickly lost to view ; diving down the inequali-
ties that fell to the river. Her servant and the
peasants came up, and escorted by them, she
now rode home slowly and silently.
154 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
Cotteril's account of his observations of
Redmond upon the night he left Mr. Pratt's
house ; the allusions of the two old men on the
village bridge, and, indeed, the young man's
last appearance, and his own acknowledg-
ments, seem to require a plain and speedy de-
tail (for we dislike unnecessary mystery) of
his real adventures and conduct since the first
evening he and the reader parted company.
Educated and brought up in liberal feelings,
confirmed in them by liberal association, and a
sense, however vague, of rank and place in the
world, it will not be wondered at, that the brief
explanation Redmond finally compelled his
guardian to yield, upon the evening of their
last interview, should have produced in the
youth's bosom the kind of frenzy which has
been noticed. The sudden shock acted, too,
PETEB OF TJIK CASTLE* 155
upon a nature, not of the gentlest, though, in
many respects, of the noblest ^description, and
was therefore felt more violently.
Mr. Pratt has called Redmond " dark ;" and,
with some allowances for exaggeration, it is
admitted that the commentator was, in a de-
gree, right in his view of character. Perhaps
strong minds and hearts generally show less of
amiable evenness, than weaker or softer ones: at
$11 events, there was about this boy's temper a
something that would not invariably bend to
confidential freedom with all who thought they
had a right, either on account of youthful
equality, or of years and relative situation, t<*
expect it from him. He was not impatient or
hasty : few ever saw him in a passion ; he was
not gloomy, even ; for he would race after the
hurling-ball, and shout as he struck it high,
and take or give a fall in wrestling during the
game, as heartily and as laughingly as any of
the neighbouring peasant-lads, with whom he
condescended to mingle in the truly national
sport. His jest, and smile, and wink, and per-
haps something else, used to be ready, too, for
every red-cheeked coUntry-girl that tripped by
him on the road, or in the field, during a day's
shooting or coursing; and in a summer meadow
156 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
he was that kind of person who would tumble
about in the new hay, playing with a child ;
but also that kind of a person who did not
lower himself by the vagary, and who would
not allow any man to play with him, when his
gambol with the child was oyer.
While amusing conversation went on at table
around him, Mr. Pratt and others have often
vainly asked Redmond, why he was abstracted ?
or why, when every one else laughed, he looked
grave ? or, on the contrary, why, when all were
wrapped in some serious topic, he alone smiled ?
He would, on such occasions, merely answer, that
he was unconscious of what they taxed him
with— and he was ; for the long, vague look, or
the faint j&mile, just moving the closed lips,
were evidently but mechanical responses to the
mind's gaze upon some difficult question; or to
its glow over recollected or anticipated hap-
piness; or, perhaps, to its indifference or con-
tempt of something past by, or yet to come ; —
none of which lapses it would, had it been
conscious of the outside show, have naturally
trusted to observation.
It might be, that thoughts, irresistible at his
age, upon his prospects, his pretensions — and
thence upon the question of his parentage, only
PETER OF THE castle. 157
now called up with vigour, had lately given a
more decided turn to this complexional reserve
or depth of character. And again, the ever-re-
curring image of the lady whom he had dared,
within the last year, to love — and the incessant
reference from her to his future hopes of pos-
sessing her, continually kept him agitated,
with, for the first time in hi3 life, reveries as
selfish as they were absorbing.
It has been said that he was seldom seen in a
passion; yet some have witnessed him in one;
and then, the vehemence of the fit certainly
balanced the virtue of its rare occurrence. If
really stirred up, Redmond's frenzy shook him
to the centre, terrified all around him, and,
working his body like a machine, flung him
headlong, he knew not whither, upon the first
course that presented itself. And if, in earlier
boyhood, such had been the effect of his con-
stitutional temper, on but slight occasions, we
can more easily conceive the excess of passion
that, on the present, sent him bursting out of his
guardian's house, late at night, with cries and
imprecations on his lips, joined to deeply-mut-
tered tows, never again to cross its threshold.
It is true that, as Cotteril has related,
he first took the level road to the village : and,
158 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
indeed, for once in his life, at least, that per-
son has already given to Mr. Pratt a pretty true
account of such of Redmond's conduct as came
under his observation. The despairing boy ran,
bounded forward, until a recollection that he
was hastening to face the village crowds, whose
regards and whispers he could not now en-
counter, checked his speed, and, after a wild
inquiring look around, urged him to cast him-
self by the road-side, in a fit of complete aban-
donment. Here the broken, but beautiful image
of another person started across his mind;
again he sprang up, cursing his birth, and the
unknown parent who had left him to disgrace
and misery, and ran against the rising ground
at his left hand.
This was the hill spoken of by CotteriL The
carriage road to the village curved round it. A
second road, narrow, rugged, and strewed with
stones and rocks, led, as he and some other wise
persons though t,in a shorter line to the same place,
mounting boldly almost to the summit of the
hill. But from the point at which Redmond be-
gan to ascend, their was neither road nor path ;
and he held his way, through clumps of furze
and briars, iat right angles with the course in
which Cotteril was racing to intercept him. He
PETEB OF THE CASTLE. 159
wanted no path that might conduct him to the
dwellings of his fellow-creatures, or bring him in
contact with them. He only cared to recollect
that the top of the ascent, some distance across
the climbing road, was lonesome, untenanted,
and uninhabited ; and that there he could fling
himself down, and indulge his present mood.
Through every obstacle, he soon cleared the
steep of the eminence, shot over the narrow
road, bounded upon some rude fences of dry
stones, pressed against the last piece of sloping
ground, and found himself in the midst of a
flat stretch of, as he had anticipated, waste
land, which formed the summit. On every
6ide, furze, rushes, brambles, and other bushes,
were grouped, in clumps, with large stones,
black under the shadow of night, or, here
and there, with upright conical rocks, splint-
ered at top, and cleft asunder — the protrusions
or extremities, perhaps, of more enormous
masses buried in the hill. Under his feet
there was, in one place, soft, elastic sward, made
by a depth of moss, and ages of decayed vege-
tation, and, in another, patches - of slaty
rockj bedded in the soil, and level with it.
Redmond threw one glance around, to select,
for his solitary and . misanthropic retreat, the
160 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
meetest spot; and, as if satisfied with his scru-
tiny, was springing on, when his toe touched
something soft, amid a large tuft of furze and
rushes, and he was sent staggering forward.
Ere lie had recovered himself, a man, starting
from the tuft, confronted him, and in an easy yet
peculiar tone, said, " Bannochth-lath, gossip."
" Fool ! v growled Redmond, as he turned to
hasten from him ; " what sent you here, at this
time of the night ?"
" The thing that didn't send yourself, if a
ixxly is to judge by the hurry you're in, an* th£
way you have with you," answered the man ; —
u the sleep sent me here ; an 1 it was on me
when your foot kicked me to waken me, I
" You came to sleep here ? in such a place as
this ? — You have no roof to cover you, then ?
— you are poor — a wretch and an outcast ?"
" No roof to cover me ? — that's a small mis-
take ; I have, many 's the one."
" Go home, then, and snore under it ; this is
no haunt for you: good night, fellow," said
" A good night, then : but stop a bit, if you
plase; just a neighbour's word with you,"
walking quickly after him.
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 161
u Well, man ?" — stopping and fiercely facing
" Here it is," replied the other, presenting a
long-barrelled pistol—" here it is," jocosely re-
peating the words as he cocked it, " an' all it'll
be axin' o' you is whatever thrifle you have in
your pockets — asy now !" — as, with an ex-
clamation of " Rascal !*' and a sudden spring
and blow, Redmond darted on him, knocked
the weapon out of his hand, and brought him
to the ground. Indeed, in a contest of bodily
strength,, his low and light-built antagonist had
little chance against Redmond's great height,
nerve, and vigour, assisted as he was by the
desperation that now maddened him.
" You done it, faith," said the man, slowly
rising; u an' now, don't be tellin' it to the coun-
thry, wide, to get me into more disgrace than
ever fell on me afore, on Ireland's ground, or
in other places that ar'n't in Ireland, maybe :< —
for the divil a mother's son, barrin' yourself — "
" Here, fellow," interrupted Redmond , throw-
ing him all the money he could find in his poc-
ket, " never say it wasin defence of this trash I
soiled my hands with you—and, after all, per-
haps you want it : good night again."
" Stop, ar-bouchol, stop,"— gathering up the
168 PETER OF THE CASTLE:
pieces,— " stop, an* this is the second time I
bid you ; if I take one o' them from you now >
may they walk down my throath afther the
manner of a — : — - stop, I say t — stop, now, in
arnest J" — he held close to his vision one of the
pieces, and, in the weak light of the rising and
clouded moon, seemed to examine it very anxi-
ously — " Mother o* Heaven ! what's this ? where
did you make off this ?"
" What ? what, man ?" — Redmond return-
ed quickly to his side, and also peered at
the coin, — " Give it me!" he resumed, furious-
ly, after a second's observation — " I didn't in-*
tend to part with that : give it, or-r*- "
" Arragh, bother, to be sure I will, as well
as all the rest : but how cum it into your hands ?
that 's all I want to know ; an' isn't it a civil
" No, man [—it's an impertinent question:—?
why* should you ask ? don't you see the piece!
is not one of the coin of these countries — per-
haps not a coin of any country ? — go home ; fare-
well ;"— he now had it again in his possession.
* f No, faith ; nor a coin at all, maybe," re^
sumed the man ; " only a family keepsake,
like, an' what we believe they calls a meddle:
but there 's a kind of a notion cum into my
PETER OP THE CASTLE. 163
head that I seen it afore now ;" — hd continued to
walk after Redmond as he spoke : — " an', more-
over, if you got it from the right hand, or in
the right way, there 's another sort of a notion
come across me, that I could tell you something
of the friend that gave it to you."
Redmond started and stopped. The medal
had, indeed, been his from infancy; but he
knew not to whom he was indebted for it,
although, within the last year, he had often
dwelt on the hope> of being able to trace the,
« What friend do you mean ? supposing you
right or wrong in your notions, what was that
friend to me ?"
" Why, nothing more nor the misfortunite
man they called your father."
The bolt' of flame suddenly bursting before
his eyes in the darkness of night, could not
have more stunned Redmond, than did this
answer, carelessly and lightly worded as it
was. He turned, and gazed upon his follower
m breathless consternation. In a moment, how-
ever, the tide of his former frenzy rushed back
with increased swell ; and, partly maddened by
impatience for an explanation, partly by a sud-r
den fear that the speaker, already aware of his
164 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
shame, meant but to jeer and taunt him, he
once more sprang upon his chance companion,
collaring him and shaking him as he cried —
" Ruffian ! if you cannot— do not fully ex-
plain that word — instantly, too, and to my sa-
tisfaction — by all — w
" Fire and blazes ! let me go, boy ! w cried
the man, suddenly and with great agility free-
ing himself, while his manner showed a danger-
ous irritation and fierceness that had a mixture
of the snarling terrier and the tiger-cat in it, —
" keep your hands from me, I say, or, afther
all, it may be the worse for you ; I have ano-
ther spakin'-thrumpet left, let alone a little
thing that never misses fire ; — keep back, I bid
you ! was there ever sich a born fool ? you
don't know, man, into what a scrape one whis-
tle on my little finger can bring you : be quiet,
an' let us talk; I'm used to have my word
obeyed ; an' you, of all livin' cratures, have a
right to mind it ; stand where you are, gor^oon,
and listen to me well,"
" I stand, fellow, not on account of your ab-
surd threats, but to hear you speak — and you
are yet within my reach — and yet I warn you,
that if you do not fully explain your random
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 165
word— and in explaining it, if & syllable es-
capes you concerning the man you must prove
to be the man you mentioned — a 'syllable of
slight or reproach which you cannot also make
good— or more — a syllable giving account of
wrong done upon him, to the authors of which
you do not instantly direct my vengeance ; if
one of these conditions be forgot by you, pre-
pare yourself. We are alone on this hill ;
that's enough ; — you know what I mean."
" Well," answered the other coolly, as, his
head bent, he seemed to arrange his thoughts
to some pressing purpose.
" Go on !" resumed Redmond, while the
man was still silent.
" Yes— there it is," muttered the stranger,
evidently coming to a point with himself;
" that 's it. I will go on, poor gor^oon ; only
you '11 be sorry, afore I 'm done, for callin'
me them names, an' for the little thrial between
us at the first goin' off, too. Arf you must
have rason, now ; an' sense to undherstand that,
afore I open my mind to you, it's only fair
an 1 allowable I M be sure you Ve the man I M
take you for."
" Be it so : but speak quickly ."
166 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
" Very well. Now we only start from the
post, over again. Where did you get this
goold meddle ?"
" I suppose I must answer you. -When I
was an infant, sent to nurse to a poor cabin
in this neighbourhood, it hung round my neck ;
the woman who nursed me deprived me of it,
while I was too young to be conscious of the
theft. Many years after, her daughter, my fos-
ter-sister, learned from conversations between
her father and mother that it belonged to me ;
and, as the poor girl loved me, and moreover
pitied me on account of a question concerning
my parentage, which she saw weighed down my
heart, the medal returned, by her means, jnto
my possession. Now for your story."
" It 's soon tould. You 're no other than
the young boy that was brought up in the at-
torney's big house, beyant, it seems, then ?"
" Fellow, you trifle with me. Every one in
the neighbourhood knows that, only too well.'*'
" Don't be callin' me them names, ar-vich, I
bid you again. An* I, for one, never knew
you, to see you, afore this night ; though that
wasn't my fault : for many 's the long mile, by
sey an' land, I thravelled to find you out ; an'
at last, when I come to these parts, you were
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 167
m Dublin, they Could ipe, and I thought you
in it still. Sure, you can't be at home more
nor a day or two."
" No- longer. But what is all this to the
question ? Why did you come to find me out,
as you call it ? What business had you with
" A thrifle. I made my way here to claim
a good estate for you, ma-bouchal ; an', afther
that, to put in a little claim for you, to your-
self, on my own account, — och, Redmond, a-
chorra, where 's the hand ?" He advanced, ex-
tending his arm, as if, in accordance with his
words, he sought to give and take a greeting.
Redmond stepped back.
" An estate for me ? and to put in a claim
for me ? What is this folly ? Man, do you pre-
sume— -do you dare to trifle with me ? Have a
care ; you can't guess in how ill a humour I am
to bear it. An estate ? what estate ?"
" The house an 7 lands Pratt houlds."
" Take care, I again warn you : you mean
to insinuate then that I am that man's son — his
base bastard, perhaps ?"
. " God forbid, avich : an* yet, bad as he is,
I 'm afeard the world won't allow your father
to be much a betther man."
168 v PETEE OF THE CASTLE.
" Scoundrel ! there 7 s the woi d I cautioned
you against ; and now make it good, or — • — go
on ! how has my father become a mark for the
world's censure ? Heaven of heavens ! Pratt's
story is true then. Man! who was that fa-
" He that hung the little meddle round your
neck, Redmond, a vich, when he put you into
Pratt's care, an' your good estate too— an' that
can tell you every letther an' mark on the med-
dle, though he might only have it in his hands
in the dark o' the night, when the best eye-
sighth *ud fail in makin' em out; an' no other,
Redmond, ma-bouchal, # are you to take the
"Furies ! what mean you ?" — a terrible mis-
giving setting him wild ; — " name the name of
the person you call my father. Is he alive?
where is he ? how situated ?"
" Alive, an' not far from you, Redmond, a-
graw, an' — but this is the sorest part to you —
the neighbours call him one Cushneiehe "
Without attempting to describe the feelings
in Redmond's bosom, we shall only mention
that, at an announcement so terrible, he was
deprived of all power of utterance, silently and
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 169
quickly falling back still farther from die
" An 1 there's no hand for me yet? n resumed
his companion, after a pause, in a softened and
reproachful tone : " Redmond, a-vourneen,
flesh an' blood sees nothin' to hate in its own
iftisfort'nes or misdoings ; it forgives an* forgets
all to its own kin."
"You are the person you have named thea?*
inquired Redmond, his voice sounding low- and
hollow, as he hugged his arms hard across his
" I'm myself at laste, a-chorra, an' nothin'
more or less to you than your own poor fa-
" Stop !— you must prove your right to that
word before you use it;—- you must show me,
clearly and* circumstantially, how it could have
happened ;— you must not leave a hairVbreadth
of doubt unremoved. I hear but your as-
sertion, wretched man, and scorn it Though
it leaves me here shaking with a dread never
known before, I scorn it ! But let me have
the proof, I say ! show me, as clear as the day
that will surely come, how it is I am — fiod
of heaven! what I cannot utter J — how it is
VOL. III. i
170 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
I — / mercy, mercy, Great Lord of the
world I mercy only in that ! n the miserable boy
fell on his feeble knees : " or, before it comes —
death ! death ! Before it is known — before she
hears it — Common Parent, show me mercy ! —
No r he started up distracted — " I do not be-
lieve it — it cannot, shall not be true ! — hell and
flames! — Rosalie! — it shall not! — or come! —
rather than that it "should — rather than that —
that /''-^groping for the pistol he had knocked
out of Cushneiche's hand, he tottered head-
long, and fell exhausted.
The old robber stooped over him, and by a
succession of soothing words tried, in his own
way, to administer relief and consolation, at the
same time raising Redmond's head. As soon
as the youth grew conscious that his hands were
round him, he again sprang to his feet.
f I say, man, it is as false as the hell you
shall suffer for it I Ah !" screaming, as a sud- .
den thought came — " I see it now ! you bring
me a confirmation of Pratt's story, because you
have been set on by him."
'* Set on by liimf* repeated Cushneiche an-
grily; " set on by the fellow I'm come here
only to bring to his long account P By him ,
that has wronged us both ? — that tninks to keep
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 171
jour own from you, Redmond, a-vich, and
that is the cause — or J wrong him much— why
the father an* son were even forced to part, an*
one sent on the road to evil doins, an' the other
made his household dog ? Avoch, poor* boy,
hear rason. I never knew you, I say, or what
you war like, in the face or the limbs, till you
crossed me on this hill to-night ; or why I had
the right to call you my own, till your own hand
threw that token on the ground.*
" How am I sure of that ? how can I tell
" Wait, a-cuishla : do you remember my first
salute to you ? do you remember the pistol at
your head ? if I was set on you, or knew my
own child, is that the way I'd come up to
Redmond groaned in confirmed though less
furious agony, and again his clasped hands and
upturned eyes appealed to heaven.
" An* it 's the heavy sorrow is on my heart,
Redmond, resumed Cushneiche, " to be sich a
father to sich a son ; one that desarves the first
and best man of this wide world to call him his
child ; "but wait, a-vich, I tell you again. My-
self is nothin' to myself, now ; you, Redmond,
it 's you is to be considhered ; an' for the same
1T8 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
rason, let the. world never know we are kith or
kin. -Let me stay here only till sich time as the
ould Attorney 11 be made to give you your own,
an" then no matther what, corner provides me
rest an' pace at last." :
"Unhappy old man — wretched father! to
whom, if this indeed be true, your child can
never be a child — do not talk to me of estate, or
wealth, or rpnk ; talk to me only of all that can
prove your horrible claim to my connexion with
you— to my blood,, the blood that runs In my
veins ; and if on that point you speak clearly
> n o matter; I listen to you."
" Well, my poor gor§oon ; first an* foremost,
I $an tell you the marks an* tokens on the little
bit o' gopld ; then, I can tell the day an' place
I gave you up to Pratt; afther that, I can tell
you how much land I paid him hard motiey
for, on your account; an' to make my endin'
" These are still but your <6wn assertions.
&ave you no witness to them ?"
" Afey, a vich ; to make my endin' good, I«an
bring him to your face, with the Lord's h^lp,
an 1 if I 'in a live man ; when, if he doesn't *ij>-
hould my story, through his own mouth, £n'
by rason of the little way we'll oygufy it with
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 178
him, why then, Redmond, a-roon, the red
duoul take the liars, that Y all ; an 1 I have no
witnesses to show you."
" Impostor — though I know not why you*
should join in such a plot — yet, wretched im-
postor as you are, can you expect me to con-
sign myself to perdition by believing you oh a
case so flimsy ? or expect me to check the re-
turning joy I now feel at detecting you out of
your own showing ?"
" How, Redmond, ma-bouchal ?"
" How ? If— I will not say if — but since you
have been hired by Pratt to destroy me — though
I repeat I know not ,why — with this fable, what
else should he do but confirm his own state-
" Asy again, man. Supposing at the same
time, we make him deliver up to you, saled
atf signed, the parchments that gives you a
right atf title to eveify sod he houlds, an* laves
himself without a shilhin', a beggar on the face
d* the earth, — would that be like the thing?
would that show him ah* me to be cullodgm
together ? would that make it rasonable for him
to tell a false story, that, when once tould "
«• By the Eternal P interrupted Redmond,
stamping furiously, " you shall do it, then, or
174 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
you and I have but a measured time of this
H/e ! and when you have done it— for one of
us, at least," sinking in his furious tone, " the
time shall still be measured."
" 1 11 do it, Redmond ; an' no need, a-hager,
of threatemn' me or yourself oh the head of it,
either. Mind what I say. I know your father
is a shame to you, but he '11 dhraw far off as
soon as you 're righted, an' no one the wiser
who or what he is; an' Pratt can asily be
bribed to hould his tongue ; an' then you '11
have your good lands an' house to yourself,
" No more of this, I repeat — not another
word of such dreadful mockery. The only
thing you and I can now allude to, is the proof
of your story ; the only thing I want to know
is, that you, a highway robber and outlaw, have
indeed the right to call me by the name you
presume to apply to me. Your former history,
your family, your early pursuits, or the cir-
cumstances that made you what you are — even
these points I fly from at present, as, until the
titiT,e and place of your explanation, I fly from
you ; and when you tell me of that time and
place, our meeting ends. So, where am I to
witness Pratt's admissions ? how, circumstanced
PETER OP THE CASTLE. 175
as you are, warring with the laws of. your
country, do you propose to obtain an interview
with him ?"
" Don't fear me much on the head o' that. It '11
jest all happen out of his own house (that isn't his
own), an' in one o' mine. He 's mighty shy o'
me, I know, though not on this account, an' we
must watch an' wait a little, to find him free of
his faction ; but it's a thing to be done, plase
God, for all his cuteness."
cc You mean to force him into one of your
" Why, then, I believe you said it, Red-
mond, a-vich. n
" If so, remember I am no party to your out-
" Never fear ; an* God forbid I axed you,
Redmond; only meet us, the present night
week — "
*' A week ? do you think to put me off so
long? Do you think I can be paltered with so
u Asy, good boy ; the bird isn't to be caught
sooner. He must be clear of his faction, I tell
you ; an' it '11 happen in this way. To-day-
morning, as we hear, a gossip o' mine went to
give him the invite to his weddin', for the evenin'
176 PETEB OF THE CASTLE.
I tould you .of; he '11 come to the house in the
day-light, with few of his people about him ;
my gossip, out o' love to you, becase out o' love
to your fosther-sisther— " , .
" What ? are you speaking of Ristharde
" Whisht, a-boucha] ; it's not manners to call
peopled names, at the prasent time o' the night;
—an' there 's some things to be let into one ear,
an' out through the other : never mind axin' too
many questions; only, my poor gossip, I say,
111 give no hendrance, if he gives no help, when
Pratt is onct in the baruti ; an', as I said afore,
you '11 have only to meet us, about nine o'clock,
outside o' the place, an', when we get him into
our company, folly us, accordin' to your likin',
over the road we '11 be for axin' him to come."
" Supposing me to comply with your lawless
arrangements, to which, I once more warn you,
I am and shall be no party— do you expect to
find in his pocket the documentary proof you
spoke of ? The title-deeds, as I understand
you ? and the only proof which I will take to
be undeniable ?"
" No ; he wouldn't hawk 'em about with. bi*»>
I'm thinkin' ; but a body may go look for them,
afore givin' himself a call. Don't fear us, my
poor boy ; you '11 get the satisfaction you want."
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 177
" Farewell, then— v He was turning off after
" Avoch, Redmond, is this the way you lave
me ?" Cushneiche again held out his hand.
" No, wretched creature !" said Redmond — -
" even supposing your tale true and proved, no,
no I say f — Even supposing Nature to have ori-
ginally given you over me the near claim you
say you possess, still, from my earliest infancy,
you abandoned that claim— -you left me to my
own fortune and chance— for twenty years w
" " Listen to the rason for that."
" Not a word !— Ais useless, and will but pro*
long an intercourse I shrink from.— Say you
never had deserted your child, your present
course of life cuts asunder, for ever, any acci-
dental relationship. The Commandment cannot
mean to bind a son of honour and honesty to
love or honour a ; -Oh Merciful Heaven ! —
Unnatural, as well as degraded man ! — it would
have been a mercy if you kept me by your side,
even to familiarize me to your own life — even to
corrupt* and harden my heart — to teach me to
sink myself for ever, that so I might be blind
to your character, and that the robber-son might"
acknowledge the robber-father, as the tiger-
whelp in the forest his tiger-sire. — Yes, com-
178 PETER OF THE CASTLE*
pared to the ruin you now bring upon me — the
horrid struggle you have aroused in my breast —
the despair and scalding anguish" — his voice be-
came shrill, as burning tears found their way—
" compared to this and more, any thing would
have been mercy. — Touch your felon hand ?
take it in mine ? No !— Keep your appointment :
I will be punctual, if I can bear life so long."
He plunged down the side of the hill opposite
to that which he had ascended; at the bottom,
. again met the level road to the village, which,
as has been noticed, swept all round the emi-
nence ; bounded over it, with an eager and fear-
ful look to the right and to the left, to note if
he was observed ; then down sloping grounds,
to the river side ; along by the water's brink to
the village bridge; and, stealthily passing it,
continued his course at the other side of the
river, towards the group of ruins in one of
which Padhre-na-Moulh usually lived.
PETE'tt OF THE CASTLE. 179
It was Redmond's intention, if, indeed, any
impulse of his present mood can be called an
intention, to seek an interview with Padhre-na-
Moulh. From many former little incidents, he
had been led to entertain a vague notion that
the hermit knew, or, allowing for his attributed
wanderings of brain, fancied he knew something
about him, in reference to his birth. The
youth, during early childhood, became familia-
rized to the person of Peter, who constantly
walked into the cabin where he was at nurse,
silently begging a little food ; afterwards, they
often met by the river's side, or on some other
of the poor mendicant's lonesome walks ; *and it
was observed that Peter never appeared near
him without showing, by gestures or action, an
unusual interest. Sometimes he would, in pass-
ing, lay his hand on the child's head ; sometimes
stop suddenly before him, and kneel as if in
180 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
prayer for his welfare : and Redmond had a
lively recollection of once crossing, at about six
years of age, the wanderer's path, in a solitary
place, when no third person was near, and when
Peter, after first kneeling by his side and holding
, his hand, took him gently into his arms, and
while tears ran down his cheeks, and low sobs
and moanings escaped him, pressed the boy ten-
derly to his heart*
Redmond was sent to school, and afterwards
to college; of course, their meetings became
less frequent ; indeed years often lapsed without
one ; and the youth remembered only as inco-
herent passages of his childhood, the notice and
attention of his strange acquaintance and pa-
tron. Before his last return to the University,
something occurred, however, to cast back his
mind over those half-forgotten days and cir-
cumstances. Ellen and he were out rambling
among the hills, and had sat down to rest, in
the middle of a waste moor, when Peter sud-
denly approached them, alone. Their hands
had been innocently clasped, before his ap-
pearance, and now were quickly withdrawn
from each other. But, walking up to them,
with, as usual, his eyes fixed on the ground,
the mendicant, when they had bid him good-
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 181
morrow, and when he had lowly bowed his
head in acknowledgment, gently took a hand
in each of his, again joined them, knelt, as
if to invoke happiness on the union he would
thus seem to propose, and left the boy and girl,
as suddenly as he had come up, to recover, as
well as they could, from the blushing confusion
his singular conduct had caused.
About a year after, Redmond was still more
interested by a rencounter with Peter. At
this time he had seen Miss D'Arnell, and could
think of nothing but her. It was a fine day,
and he reclined, alone, on the bank of the river,
idly, but, since the time of Shakspeare's Or-
lando, at least, allowedly indulging the old
lover-trick of forming the initial of his lady's
name in the smooth sand that filled a little
river-creek near him, now left dry in the sum-
mer weather. So, R, R, R, for Rosalie was flou-
rished, with his finger, all over the shining
tablet ; when, looking up, he half-blushed to
find himself detected in his pastime by old
Padhre-na-Moulh, who stood, immediately over
him, gazing down at his work.
" Well, good Peter, and how do you like
it?" asked Redmond, not in a pleased tone.
The mendicant shook his head, in evident
182 PETEE OF THE CASTLE.
token of not liking it at all ; and then stoop-
ed, smoothened the sand with the palm of his
hand, and, using the point of his staff, de-
scribed, much to Redmond's surprise, a well-
shaped E, in lieu of every R he had defaced.
After a pause, Redmond said, smiling, " No,
no, Father Peter ; it must be this letter ; n and
in his turn, he smoothened the primitive page,
and restored the original characters. But Peter
shook his head more earnestly than before —
Redmond thought he even frowned — and, again
stooping, wrote E, E, E, inscribing the letters
deeply into the sand, and, when he had done,
pointing towards Mr. Pratfs house, and signify-
ing, by proper gestures, that Redmond should
seek in it a subject for his alphabetic muse.
" Indeed, Padhre ? and why so ?" —
A third time the mendicant prepared the
sand for a new text, and wrote—" It is com-
" Ay, Padhre P' resumed the youth; " and
by whom commanded, pray ?"
His strange companion remained as if he had
not heard the question.
" Who has the right to command me in
such a matter, Peter ? Do you know I am an
orphan, without natural guardians, and such a&
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 183
might claim the right ?" Still no motion gave
an answer to his questions. " I say, Peter, no
human creature lives qualified to control me,
hi any thing I choose to do or to fancy."
At last Peter seemed to hear. Once again
he made the sand level, and inscribed upon it —
"Yes — there live those whose bidding you
should heed ;" and while Redmond, with ex-
treme wonder, pored over the sentence, Peter
suddenly walked away, nor could entreaties
draw him back.
For some time the incident left a strong im-
pression on Redmond's mind, and he afterwards
threw himself more than once in Peter's way, in
order to obtain, if possible, an explanation of
the last words written on the sand. But the
mendicant would not attend to. his questions,
and, if closely pressed, only pointed solemnly,
and with a show of earnest exhortation, to
Pratt's house, and renewed his signs that there,
and there only, Redmond was to bestow his
affections. This obstinacy at first irritated
him; and then, as time wore away, (much of
it in the company of Rosalie,) and as* he be-
gan to recollect the rumour, credited by the
more reflecting people in the neighbourhood,
of Peter's insanity, he tried to dismiss all
184 PETER OF THE CASTLB.
idea of the occurrence as one which ought
rationally to interest him. The poor man's
early notice of him could have been no-
thing, Redmond argued, but an arbitrary im-
pulse of his weak mind ; and, working up his
own prepossession, Peter had now merely
invested himself with a right to dictate to his
protege upon some whim, of which the solution
could only be found in the incongruities com-
mon to madness.
Yet, after the receipt of the note from Count
O'Ruark, the finding of the scrap of Mrs. Pratt's
letter, and, particularly, after the sudden de-
claration of his guardian, which had sent him
raving out of the house, Redmond's thoughts
went back, in spite of him, to his interview with
Peter by the river side ; as he clambered up the
hill, upon this night, an impulse again to chal-
lenge the solitary, in his ruined abode, often
occurred, and now, giving way to what, in a
calmer moment, he would have thought a
weakness, the youth rapidly, though stealthily,
pursued his broken path to the old castles.
He soon gained them. They lay within a
short distance of the water, occupying about an
acre of ground, which was left untitled and neg-i
lected, and as if delivered up, in reverence or
PETEK OF THE CASTLE. 186
fear, to be a domain unto the relics of former
times. Heaps of their own stones and rubbish,
that, during century after century, had become
piled around them, were, in many places, now
clothed with soil and long grass and weeds, so
as to give the appearance of natural little hil-
locks,which grouped, irregularly but pleasingly,
with the ruins that still endured. Indeed, as
has before been said, the ground all about
them had gradually risen so high, that a good
portion of their bases were buried in it.
As Redmond hastily stepped into the little
solitary region, the objects which first confront-
ed him were two detached portions of arched
aisles, blackly relieved against the less deep sky,
and allowing passage, through their arches, to
floods of watery moonshine, that came bursting,
now and then, from wreaths of low, racking
clouds. These ran at right angles with each
other, and yet might once have been but parts
of one connected pile ; oyer them, at some dis-
tance, arose the pinnacled and shivered heads
of two or three square towers, or castles,— also
standing out blacker than the heavens, and ad-
mitting weak gleams through their pointed win-
dows and cracks. To his right and left arose
others, of a similar shape, half light, half sha-
186 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
dow, whenever the fitful moonbeams fell on
them ; and at his back, as he entered the place
of ruins, was the peculiarly-shaped, square cas-
tle, most fully catching the intermittent ray, be-
cause directly facing its source, in which, as he
had often been told, the solitary resided. No
pathway was distinguishable through the en-
cumbered and tangled ground ; and it was over-
spread by a deep and melancholy silence, that,
at every step he took, seemed to become dis-
mally broken up by the murmuring or whisper-
Stumbling over the inequalities we have
described, and among loose stones and prickly
weeds, or slippery grass, Redmond found his
way to the base of Padhre's castle. He looked
up, hoping to catch a red gleam from its
windows and slits, that might announce an in-
habitant within :— no light appeared through
any of the blank orifices. He walked round the
building, in search of a door or entrance :— none
met his eye, upon a level with his feet ; and a
little more observation showed him that the
rugged and abrupt ascent up which he was ob-
liged to clamber to the castle, was, as before
generally noticed with respect to all the others,
a heap of its own fragments, that, in course of
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 187
time, had mounted higher than the original door-
way, completely blocking it up from use or view.
But at one side of the square ruin he saw a
large window-hole, also square, to be gained by
a little climbing, and which, from stepping-
marks under it, and the polish on its lower edge,
seemed constantly in use as the entrance to the
With slight exertion, Redmond got in at this
window, and found himself upon a narrow, cork-
screw kind of stairs, continuing above him, as
the partial and flitting moonbeams allowed him
to observe, and also twining downward from
where he stood, into, as he rightly supposed,
the ground-floor of the castle. It struck him
that Padhre was most likely to choose for his re-
treat this lower and obscured region, which,
from the pilings of stones and rubbish abroad,
might now be regarded as a kind of subter-
raneous cell ; and acting upon this idea, he
descended the steps.
As he looked down to measure his way, he
could not see where, or in what manner they
ended ; for, at the distance of a few yards,
impenetrable darkness baffled his eye, the stairs
seeming to rest upon a void, or to become
gradually shadowed into it. Cautiously, there-
188 PETER OF THE CAST IK.
lore, Redmond descended, placing his feet
firmly, and clinging to rude projections in the
rough wall, at one side. After making some
progress, he stumbled over a confused and
broken mass, and fell. His first apprehension
was that a breach hod occurred in the steps,
and that he should be precipitated headlong to
the bottom : but he soon assured himself that
he only lay prostrate among a heap of stones,
which tumbling, from time to time, through
the interior of the ruin, had, at this place,
rolled down the stairs, choked them up, and
forbid further progress towards the regions
Convinced that it was now useless to seek
Peter any where but in the upper part of the*
castle, Redmond scrambled to his feet, and as-
cended the narrow staircase. It led him into
an apartment, the full extent of the space en-
closed by the building, of which the floor was
earthen, the walls were bare and rough as the
outside of the castle, and which was rude-
ly arched over-head, sustaining another floor.
Through large openings, at one side, the
moon sent sufficient light to enable Redmond,
after he had looked close for some time, to
observe the features of the place. No human
PETEB OF THE CASTLE. 189
figure appeared. In opposite corners were two
beds of straw and rushes, covered with coarse
blankets, and feneed round with hewn stones,
visibly culled from the heap of ruins below.
He recollected the two old men who constantly
attended on Padhre, and 'conjectured that this
apartment, and these humble couches, were
occupied by them, rather than by him. He
walked round by the walls, expecting to dis-
cover a recess, but was disappointed. Issuing
from the chamber, he gained the scanty land-
ing-place, before the threshold of its low, square
door-way, and observing that the twisting stair-
case continued upward towards the top of the
castle, mounted it.
He arrived at a second landing-place, and a
second low, square door, that gave him entrance
upon the floor above the apartment he had just
quitted. Here were no beds, and, except the
swollen and toiling clouds, no ceiling or cover-
ing. The earthen surface on which he stood,
was encumbered with the fragments of the flat
roof, that long ago had tumbled in ; for the
luxuriant crop of weeds which flourished among
the ruins, told that they were not of recent
In old castles of a similar kind, he had previ-
190 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
ously observed the construction of the roof, or
covering, to have been a little elevated towards
the centre, with, from that point, grooves di-
verging and running into a stone channel, which,
attached to the walls of the building, received
the waters that fell on the roof, and discharg-
ed them outwardly, through vents in each
angle, upon the earth below ; of such a roof
the whole had, in the present ca§e, given way,
except that around two sides of the castle,
the remains of the narrow water-course still
projected — to Redmond's eye, as he gazed up-
ward, very insecurely and scantily. But having
ascertained that the uncovered chamber could
not possibly shelter the hermit of the ruined
abode, he issued out again, and ascended still
With some caution, he stood upon the edge
of the frail water-course, and looking across
the space between him and the opposite wall,
thought he perceived what he had been seeking,
a recess, such as might afford concealment to
the object of his search. He was now on the
summit. At either angle were the fragments
of pinnacles, and, connected with them, indent-
ed breast- work, which rose above the former
level of the roof: but at the side he was to
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 191
cross along the water-course, this rude battle-
ment had almost wholly crumbled away, so as to
afford little assistance, — in case of a false step,—
against the chance of falling, inwardly, among
the ruins below, or, outwardly, a fearful height,
to the base of the castle. The grooved path
had all the appearance, too, of being but slight-
ly supported by its insertion into the wall, and
might give way beneath the foot. Redmond
had soon traversed it, however, and gained the
point he wished to examine.
A bundle of hay, tied into a close, hard mass,
filled up a little arched door-way, and must
have been pulled with some effort into it, for
Redmond found himself obliged to push vio-
lently before it yielded, and allowed him egress
into a cell, formed half in the thickness of th*
wall, half in a semicircular projection, on the out-
side, and scarcely more than six feet long, and
four in breadth. A loop-hole gave passage to a
ray of moonlight; and the reflected light from
the interior of the opposite wall of the castle,
farther enabled him, now that the entrance was
open, to discern objects. Padhre did not yet
appear. His bed, of similar material and con*
struction with those below, entirely occupied
one end of the nook ; at the other end was a
192 PKTF.R OF THE CASTLE.
deal box, clumsily put together, upon which,
from the polished appearance of the lid, it
would seem he was in the habit of sitting. It
waa not shut close, and, urged by an impulse
of curiosity, Redmond opened it. A strange
mass of things struck his view : some potatoes,
raw and boiled ; some mouldy crusts of bread ;
a bottle of water ; several pairs of musty old
shoes ; a large missal, much worn ; a wooden
crucifix, rudely carved, perhaps by Peter's own
hand ; and a few curious articles, also probably
the work of his hours of melancholy madness,
when the hand weakly followed the imbecile
wanderings of the brain. One of these little
matters seemed an imitation of a pair of tongs,
made by bending a sapling ash until its points
nearly met, then hardening it over a fire, and
then paring and nicking it into some shape With
a knife ; another gave the notion of the hull
and masts of a ship ; another of a pistol ; all
in wood. A wooden cup also appeared, toge-
ther with the clumsy pocket knife which had
been, perhaps, the artist's only tool.
A small niche in the wall next drew Red-
mond's eye. Like the door-way it was stuffed
with a little bundle of hay. He pulled this out ;
the place seemed empty. , Groping through it,
PETER OF THE CATTLE. 193
to assure himself whether or no it secreted
any other curious article, he thought the stone,
which formed its bottom, slightly moved. He
shook the stone ; found it loose ; lifted it up be-
tween his hands, and discovered another box,
standing on end and fitting close, a good
way down, in an excavation made under it.
With some difficulty Redmond next extracted
the box, which was long and rather .weighty,
and brought it close under the ray that entered
through the loop-hole. He reckoned to find it
open, like the first ; but, although no lock
appeared, it was tightly and firmly closed. It
must be fastened by a spring, he thought : nor
was he mistaken ; for, in pressing round it with
his thumb, the lid started half open, and allow-
ed him a view of the contents- 1 — and these con-
tents not a little astonished him.
He first laid his hand on a closely-wedged
row of little bags, filled, as he ascertained, with
Spanish crowns, and gold pieces of various
countries : —next, he drew out two cases of pis-
tols, of different sizes, and richly mounted and
inlaid, though tarnished by time ; and next, a
broad-leafed hat turned up in front, a cloak, a
jacket or jerkin, small-clothes, hose, and half-
boots with spurs. In disturbing the folds of
VOL. III. K
.194 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
the cloak, a dirk and a locket fell on the ground.
Redmond caught up the latter, and rose to exa-
. mine it under the full influence of the solitary
moonbeam. At one side, it showed a tress of
hair ; at the other, initials which he could not
decypher. Great curiosity possessed him at the
discovery of this hidden treasure, and the mat-
ters that accompanied it, particularly the last.
Bringing to mind the abject appearance Padhre
always made, it was extraordinary to find such
things in his possession. Were they his own ?
had they once belonged to him in a situation
and character, which, for unknown reasons, he
now voluntarily abandoned ? or were they plun-
der — the evidences of a dark crime, for which,
according to the village rumour, he had during
twenty years offered, in his wretched and unso-
cial life, an expiation ? The locket must have
been, as almost all such things are, a little token
of female affection. On whom first bestowed ?. on
the present possessor, or some one from whom
he had snatched it ? And who was the giver ?
Redmond, in vague expectation, again peered
closely at the initials, in the moon's ray, but
with as little success as before.
A strong temptation arose in his mind to ap-
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 195
propriate the locket for a time, examine it in
the daylight, and when the letters were ascer-
tained, try to draw from them, by reflection
and inquiries, of what name and person they
might be the remembrancer. Absorbed as he
was in questions of self, exclusively, it was not
surprising that, although unwarranted by any
rational data, he should feel disposed to con-
nect with his own mystery the present one. Pa-
dhre's early, attentions to him also occurred to
his heated mind in a shape more important
than they had even before taken ; and. rapidly,
though in a very obscure way, he linked toge-
ther the hermit's fate and his own, and conjec-
tured that the locket was the clue to explain
both. In this view, he became resolved to keep
it for a few days ; at his leisure he might re-
turn to the castle, while Padhre was again out,
and replace it ; and Bedmond was hanging it
round his neck, inside his vest, by a chain to
which it appended, when the sound of heavy
steps at a distance, calling out the echoes of
the solitary little waste abroad, caused him, in
some confusion, hastily to cram all the other
articles into the box, shut down its spring lid,
deposit it in its hiding-place, arrange the stone
over it, stuff the little bundle of hay into the
196 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
blind niche, and then hasten from the recess,
and walking round a continuation of the water-
course, place himself at a ruined part of the
battlement, upon that side of the castle which
commanded a view of the approach from the
At a look he recognized Padhre, coming
home, Redmond concluded, from one of hit
moody rambles. As the single figure moved
through the intricacies of the obstructed ground,
or appeared and disappeared over the little hil-
locks before described, sometimes half touched
with moonshine, sometimes black in shadow, it
gave, in costume and general character, not an
unapt notion of the gepius of the ruined place.
Or, if stripped of superhuman fancies, and
contemplated merely as a figure, the effect was
scarce less striking ; — exactly such a being, so
wretched, so sad, so estranged from his fellows,
and suggesting so many thoughts of a former
and different existence, ought to be the human
accompaniment to the scene.
While Redmond contemplated him, Padhre
came very near to the castle, and his two old fol-
lowers appeared limping after him in the dis-
tance.- They must haye seen Redmond on the
shattered wall, the moment their eyes couW
PETER OP THE CASTLE. 197
catch it ; for he had but just recognized them,
when he was startled with their sudden scream,
out of which the shrill tones of old Daddy Clay-
ton arose, pronouncing, in a key that made the
echoes ring — " Who's that ! who's that ! who's
that in our house, lookin' from our wall?"
and the words were no sooner spoken, than Pa-
dhre, glancing up, and also seeing Redmond,
added a loud, complaining, and frightened cry,
and quickened his pace round the building, to-
wards the entrance, while the hermit birds, that,
with him, tenanted the ruins, took wing from
their ivy-nests, and, fluttering about, discord-
antly repeated his challenge.
Redmond soon heard Padhre ascending the
stairs ; his lengthened " Oh-h, oh-h, v still kept
up, accompanied by the scolding of the bid man
and the hooting of the owls without. He faced
round, to be ready to salute the hermit when he
should enter through the square door upon the
frail pathway to bis cell. In a few seconds,
Padhre rushed in.
" God save you, Padhre!" Redmond began;
" I have come to see you at last."
• The solitary, not giving a glance towards the
intruder, and only continuing his mournful and
somewhat appalling cry, rapidly walked along
198 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
the jutting ledge ; gained his recess ; entered it,
with louder lament, as if at finding it open ;
stuffed the bundle of hay into the low Gothic
doorway ; and, so shut up, at last was silent.
Redmond, not able to traverse, with Padhre^s
precipitancy, the frail line of communication
between them, slowly picked his steps to the
forbidden retreat, and there continued to ad-
dress the hermit.
" Good Padhre, you do not know me. I am
your old friend Redmond, and I come to speak
to you on matters of importance : take away the
bundle, and let me in."
He paused for some answering motion in-,
side. None reached his ear. He continued.
" Or shall I remove it myself, to save you
trouble f "
. Still all was silence ; and Redmond, owing to
the state of his mind, grew impatient, particu-
larly as the voices of the two old followers now
sounded at the entrance to the castle, multiply-
ing their indignant questions as to who the in-
truder might be, and showering curses on his
head, " whoever he was."
" I must remove it, Padhre, if you do not,
for I really want your advice and assistance ;*
— he pushed against the bundle ; but whether
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 199
it was now better secured, or that Padhre push-
ed against him, Redmond could not stir it from
" Come out o' that ! come out o'that !" cried
the two aged beggars, now arrived at the point
that led upon the ledge, and which immediately
faced the recess. " Lave our house, whoever you
are, an* 1 whatever curse dhruv you into it !"
continued Daddy Clayton — " what duv you
want there? — what call have you to him?— let
him alone, or you Ml rue id! — let him be to him-
self, or you don't know what 'ill come acrass
" Begone, you old idiot !" cried Redmond, ir-
ritated beyond bounds at the double interrup-
tion^ — u and get down to your own beds, both
of you, or "
"Or what?" interrupted the wrathful speak-
er, — " what do you threaten on us?— we know
you now ; but who cares for you, or for your
likes? — what could you -do to us that 7 s in the
hands o' them is your masther ? — Lave the place,
we bid you, an* don't let us threaten you ;— we
daarVt cross over to you — we 're not bid to do
id" — (Redmond thought they rather couldn't
cross over, or were afraid to venture :)— w but
don't stop there to vex us well — don't stop there
900 PETEB OF THE CASTLE.
to make us say words you won't like to hear, an'
won't like to feel either."
'* Silence ! w in his turn interrupted and
scolded Redmond — " silence, old impostor, and
get down, I say, lest I walk round to you.—
Padhre,* turning his voice to the recess — "good
Padhre, let me in ; and, along with giving me
comfort in my misfortune, rid me of these poor
old wretches ; for I am unhappy, Padhre, very
unhappy, and, in recollection of our former
friendship, I implore you to listen to me."
This appeal seemed to rouse the hermit : Red-
mond heard him move about, and then the
noise of striking a flint and steel caught his ear.
Daddy Clayton became also aware, perhaps, of
these symptoms ; for they appeared to add great
spite and vehemence to his final address.
" Imposther ! who 's the imposther ? them
that the word is said to, or him that says the
word ? What is he, an* who is he ? Is he what
he puts up for? who knows? — Wretches! who
is the wretch, betuxt us ? Lave that, as you 're
tould an' warned, or may you never lave id
alive ! — lave id, or may the flag you stand on
crumble undher your feet — an' now watch well
if it isn't shakinV Redmond, bringing to mind
the frailness of his footing, did not feel com-
P JETER OF THE CASTLE. 201
fortable. « Lave id, or may He that can, shake
the ould walls into a hape o' stones above you !
The throuble is on you, is id ? May it never
be off ! may it stop on you till the heart grows
as withered as the poor, an 1 the puld, an" the
desolate, you spake your bould words to, this
The bundle of hay was here pulled, away,
and Fadhre appeared at the door with a rush-
light in his hand, and motioned' the aged im-
precator and his less boisterous companion to
retire. They did so, down to their corners
in the lower chamber, still muttering, in the
impotent frenzy of age, threats and curses. In
obedience to another gesture from Padhre,
Redmond stepped into -the cell: the hermit
again blocked up the opening ; then laid his
rushlight, which was stuck in .a clay ball, on
the floor; pointed his visitor to sit on the box ;
sat himself on his couch ; and there, with his
eyes as usual cast down, waited to be addressed.
" I remember yoirr early kindness to me,
Padhre, and now, when I am in trouble, come
to you for comfort,* began Redmond, not well
knowing how to begin, and, indeed, not well
knowing what he exactly wished to say ; for,
as has been noticed, his impulse to visit the old
20£ PETEE OF THE CA8TLE.
castle was obeyed without being investigated,
„ and felt but in a very vague manner ; while
the additional interest created by his discoveries
since he entered it, only increased his wish to
address Padhre, without supplying any certain
points or subject.
" I have told you I am in trouble," he con-
tinued, as Padhre remained motionless ; " you
see me to-night without house or home. ,, The
listener started. " Yes, Padhre ; I have left my
guardian's roof for ever/' Padhre suddenly
looked up, and fixed on Redmond the most in-
quiring gaze. It was tlie first time the youth
had ever fully met his eyes; and now their deep
and intellectual, although mournful charac-
ter, startled him. They were large, black, and
finely shaped, arid quite free from the vagueness
or the peculiarity of expression that bespeaks a
disordered mind. After one earnest . question
with them, Padhre again cast them down.
" I will tell you why, Padhre ; he spoke to me
of my father : v — Redmond paused, to note the
effect of this announcement; the hearer only
shook his head : — " he told me what he was,
though not who be was. ,, He stopped again ;
Padhre made no motion. " He told me he was
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 203
a wretch, Padhre — " the hermit now interrupt-
ed the statement of his own accord, starting
more vehemently than before, and a second
time glancing hastily at Redmond, while his
eye kindled strangely.
" Is that true, Padhre ? can you tell me,
I mean, if it is true ? In our former meetings,
I sometimes fancied you knew my secret his-
tory ; — do you know it, Padhre ? can you inform
me who my parent was? can you inform me
whether or no I am degraded in his memory ?
or does he yet live ?"
His poor companion seemed affected, if not
agitated, by these questions; yet Redmond
could not decide if it was a consciousness, or
merely his compassion for the story he heard,
that produced the effect., Tears rolled down
his cheeks, however ; he breathed hard, and
perhaps strove to control stronger symptoms of
" You do not answer me, Padhre ; yet you
seem to give me cause for believing that you
are not unacquainted with "
A sudden raising of both hands, as if to dis-
claim the inference about to be. drawn, inter-
rupted Redmond. The hermit then rose, took
£04 P^TE£ OF THE GA8tl.fi.
from under his couch a rough slate, and with
a piece of soft stone wrote upon it, by the fee-
ble help of the rushlight —
" Go back to the house ; his daughter loves
jsou : love her in return, and be happy. — >Peter
has no more to say/'
" Never, Padhre," answered Redmond, when
he read this ; " never shall I cross that matfs
threshold, until I prove his story true or false ;
and if I prove it true, never shall his or any
other man's roof cover my head. As to your
thought about the young lady, it is imagi-
nary;'" — Padhre made an insisting gesture —
" or, even were it not, I have before told you
my whole heart is given to another woman :
but all that has now little to do with the pre-
sent subject." Again Padhre interrupted him
with impatient gesticulation, and would fain
enforce that Redmond was to return to his
guardian's, and forget all his troubles by unit-
ing himself to Ellen.
" Tush, Padhre ; you do not attend to me,
nor care for my real interests. Is Pratt's heL-
lish word true !" he continued, growing vehe-
ment ; " answer me that, man, if you can and
will ; if you cannot, good night, or good morn-
ing, for I believe it is now near the daybreak,
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 205
and let me go seek an answer over the wide
face of the earth."
Padhre heard him, standing motionless, and
apparently wrapped in the almost abject humi-
lity with which he was wont to take every thing
Kke ill-treatment, by whomsoever directed to
him. Redmond was touched at the expression
of the poor solitary ; and from the want of
interest, too, displayed towards the chief topic
which concerned him, inclined to believe that
all his notions of Padhre having really known
anything about him, must now prove ill-founded
and romantic. This caused him to resume in a
"Well, old friend, you cannot help me, I
see ; so farewell!'' He held out his hand.
Padhre drew back ; not coldly nor in dislike,
but as if in avoidance of a greeting he was not
permitted to give or take. " A wordy farewell,
then, if you will have it so; and a farewell for
ever, Padhre : I know I will have your prayers:*"
•—the old man knelt down — " yes, I know that;
for I remember your kindness to me when
I was a child, though you will not remember it
with sufficient interest to explain it ; — an eternal
farewell, Padhre, to you and your old castle,
906 PETER OP THE CASTLE.
and this country that I used to think my native
country — "
At the repetition of the words " eternal fare-
well," the solitary started from his knees, and,
with shakings of the head and rejecting motions
of his hands, seemed to refuse to part on such
" It must be so," continued Redmond ; " I
cannot live here after my good name, old friend. rt
Padhre grew more earnest in his expos-
tulations. " No, no; this night, though I know
not where to get the means, I start for Dub-
lin; and from that place Heaven knows whi-
The hermit made a sign that he should stop ;
paused a moment in deep thought ; again wrote
on his slate, and handed it to Redmond, who
read — " If you are so obstinate, come to me
again, though you will not go home : come in
eleven days ; I will think of all that troubles
you, and ask and pray that you may get a
relief. Think you of her that loves yon, and
whose heart pines for your love. Now God
above be your guard."
Redmond had scarce perused these lines,
when the rushlight ceased to burn, and Padhre
retired to his couch. Inconsistently indulging,
FETEH OF THE CASTLE. 207
for a moment, a recurrence of his previous
thought that, in some way or other, the hermit
and he were bound together in one fate, Red-
mond at last replied to the written command,
"Well, Padhre, wherever I may now go, or
whatever happens to me in the mean time, I
will come and see you again in eleven days.
And now, as you have said to me I say to you
— God bless you."
He left the recess, and cautiously stepping
over nearly two sides of the jutting water-
course, gained the staircase, and began to
descend. He *had not reached the bottom of
the second flight, when he thought he heard
a stealthy footstep above him ; and ere he
gained the landing-place before the chamber
occupied by Padhre's old warders, a heavy
purse, as was at once indicated by the sound
it gave, dropped on the stone he must step over.
Redmond stooped ; picked it up ; and not
doubting that his strange friend, following him
from the recess, had cast it down for him, un-
hesitatingly appropriated it.
. As he passed the door of the old men's cham-
ber, Daddy Clayton, roused by the heavy jin-
gle of the purse just at his threshold, screamed
out, " There, he's quittin*' our house at last,
SOS PETXE OF THE CASTXE.
afther robbin' us, an rune-in' us ! Our hearty
curse go along wid him ! May every sktuHhT
he takes away" — (really suspecting how the
purse was had, perhaps, but jealous of its ap-
propriation,) " every skhillin' an' every goolden
guinea turn into a red cendher o' hell's fire h
his pocket!" — and Redmond, hurrying down,
lost half of the good wishes of this kind that
were sent after him.
He gained the river-side without a plan, and
still at the mercy of every impulse. A new one
started in his mind, and he at once obeyed it
He would hasten to Dublin, unbosom himself
to an old and confidential friend, and solicit
counsel and comfort. A town from which a
mode of conveyance could be had was only a
few miles distant. He walked on for it ; gained
Dublin in about ten hours after ; found that his
friend had gone to London; remained in his
hotel, moody and solitary, during two days ; then
came out and called on some other friends, but
such as he would not think of committing him-
self to ; experienced from them a coldness and
repulsion he could not explain, but from which
he quickly shrunk back ; (it was, in fact, the
result of certain letters Mr. Pratt had written to
PETER OF THE CASTLE. S09
town, in anticipation of Redmond's arrival ;)
thought of embarking for England, or America,
or any where; recollected in horror and an-
guish his appointment with Cushneiche, and
with irritating interest his other appointment for
a subsequent day with Padhre ; returned to the
country by stealth; walked, from a rather distant
point, to Tobin's house, on the evening of the
wedding ; lurked about it until he had a second
interview with the robber, that almost fixed him
in despairing certainty ; and afterwards waited
outside until Mr. Pratt had been spirited away,
and until his own rencounter with Miss D'Ar-
210 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
When Mr. Pratt unsuspectingly followed
Cushneiche out of the barn into the house, he
found a second man, wrapt in a loose outside
coat, waiting for them in the parlour where the
guests had been dancing before dinner. The
hard and bad expression of this person's face
struck him the moment they met, and perhaps
he felt a slight misgiving. But he was not al-
lowed time for doubt or second thoughts. Cush-
neiche cautiously shut the door, as soon as they
had stepped over its threshold, and standing
with his back to it, began his real business.
" We Ve sorry for the throuble you 11 have,
Sir; but afore you look at the deed for us,
we '11 want you home until mornin'* — not a
word, now, i* you please ;" — as the gentleman
started back, and was about to speak; — " it
PETEE OF THE CASTLE. 211
might disturb the honest people o* the house,
an* we 're not for disturbing any body, when
we can help it — so, you may 's well — Yallow
Sam \ n addressing his companion, in this inter-
ruption, " look sharp, lad." — Sam instantly drew
out a pistol, as Cushneiche showed another. " You
may 's well, I say, walk down the bosheen wid
us, quiet an' asy, an' have no fear of hurt or
harum from us, in regard you Ye in the hands
o' two gintlemin, every inch o' them; only if
one word comes out o* your mouth, somethin'
else 'ill be likely to come out o' this— or that,"-^-
touching his own pistol, and pointing to Sam's
- — " that maybe you wouldn't care to swally
afther your wine, as well as a bit o' Kitty To-
bin's bride-cake.'* 1
" An' if it 's a hail or a talk you want, mas-
ter," observed Sam, " you '11 have enough o' that
when we stow you on board. v
" On board !" faltered Mr. Pratt, notwith-
standing the threats held out, speaking, how-
ever, in a very low tone. Sam instantly put his
pistol to his head.
"Stop, Sam; forgive an' forget, this time;
though, Sir," addressing himself to Pratt, " it 's a
brache of ordhers we can't overlook again ; an'
as to Sam's word, don't mind it ; he was at sey
212 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
onct in his life, with myself too, an' he can't
forget the sey talk, when it 's no use to remem-
ber it ; — but this is all a waste o* the precioui
time: come, Sir; no hurt is intended to you,
I say again, on the word of a gintleman, if you
walk fair an* asy between us."
He opened the parlour-door, peeped out
cautiously into the kitchen, listened, and then,
with a sign to his comrade, stole on tiptoe to-
wards the entrance to the yard, from which the
crowd of beggars had retired, leaving & dead
silence behind them.
" Come, brother, a grapple," said Sam, offer*
ing his arm. Mr. Pratt shrunk back. u Ha — *
cocking his pistol — " no mutiny, I tell you-—
but, first, what cargo, eh ? v — rifling the gentle-
man's fob and pockets of his watch, a few gui-
neas, and a purse of silver — "light enough ;
but can't help that," — putting up his prize — " an'
now we 're afore the wind, square an' tight."
Twining his great arm round Mr. Pratt's, of
which the hard uneven pressure felt like a coil
of twisted cables, he conveyed him to the yard :
Cushneiche met them, also linked the gentleman*
and the party proceeded to the road. At about
the point where Redmond afterwards withdrew
from MissD'Arneli, they crossed the loose fence,
PET?*. OF THE CASTLE. 818
and struck for the river side, avoiding the old
castles, and approaching the water higher up
towards their source. . Ere they had half made
way, however, down the intervening grounds,
Cushneiche stopped, and pulling a large silk
handkerchief from his pocket, deliberately folded
it into the shape in which neckcloths are usually
worn, as he said, " Atf now we have to ax par-
don a second time, but your honour 'ill have
to put on this, afore we stir a step farther."
Mr. Pratt felt a hideous misgiving as to the
way it was intended to be put on; and, when the
robber motioned to arrange it, fell on his knees,
and in a cautious yet distracted tone asked for
mercy. Sam laughed savagely, and added,
" Deep sey take the lubber, it's thinkin o' the
yard arm he is;" while Cushneiche relieved the
suppliant's fears, by wrapping the handkerchief
over his eyes, and tying it hard at the back of his
head. They then resumed their journey; the two
men again linking Mr. Pratt, and supporting him
as he faltered or tripped during the continued
He endeavoured to note in his mind the di-
rection they were taking ; but he thought that
the robbers sought to baffle him in the attempt,
214 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
by doubling, more than once, to the right and
to the left ; and when more than sufficient time
for gaining the river had elapsed, and that still
it was not gained, although its gentle ripple
came uninterruptedly on his ear, he felt more
assured of their tactics. He was, however,
compelled at the same time to acknowledge
to himself, that the manoeuvring, although
strongly suspected by him, put him. so far out
of his calculations, as at last to leave a doubt
whether they were conveying him up or down
They walked him through a wood, evidently
spreading over ground that still shelved ; but he
was not able to decide on its situation, inasmuch
as he knew two of the same kind lying some
distance asunder, and N could not assure himself
which of the two this was. Emerging from it,
they dragged him again over open ground ; and
finally stopped at the river's edge, where the rush-
ing and broken noise of the water informed Mr.
Pratt's ear that there was a fordable shallow.
Once more he tried to calculate his position;
but, as in the former case, brought to mind two
or three points, up and down the river, similar
to this, and was unsuccessful.
Cushneiche whistled, and the footsteps of two
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 215
additional friends were heard. The men came
up, lifted him on their shoulders, and stepped
into the water. His original captors followed. -
When they gained the opposite bank, Cush-
neiche asked of the new comers, " How soon
can we cross the other sthrame, boys?" — "In
no time,'" they answered, meaning "very soon.*
u Stir the shanks, then F and he and Sam
grappled Mr. Pratt, and walked him on.
The prisoner strove to remember of what
stream they had spoken. He knew only one,
which, running parallel to the river they had
forded, lay some miles into the hills. While
he was employing his thoughts on the sub-
ject, his guides helped him over a fence ; soon
after, over another; then up an eminence;
then along level ground ; then up and down
again ; until, as before, he could not tell in what
direction from the river they were travelling.
But, in about half an hour, the angry rippling
of water a second time sounded near ; and a se-
cond time he was raised on the shoulders of
two men, and carried across another ford. For
some hundred yards he could now be sure that
he was urged on in a straight line ; and at last
his conductors stopped. He heard the noise of
tumbling stones, as if clearing away from some
816 PETEE OF THE CASTLK.
spot before him, and he was ushered into a re.
treat, where, as he cautiously stepped along, for
about ten yards, his footsteps, and those of the
persons who accompanied him, were prolonged
with a hollow reverberation. He judged that
he passed through a vault of some kind ; but in
what part of his neighbourhood such a thing,
so circumstanced, was situated, Mr. Pratt could
not conjecture. While he walked on, he fek
straw or rushes under his feet ; and a red light
soon became sensible to his vision, even through
the bandage Cushneiche had supplied.
Mr. Pratt was led by the arm to a large
stone, and desired to sit on it.
" We ax pardon over agin, Sir," said the
* robber ; " but the gossip you Ye to meet isn't
come as yet, an' till he 's to the fore 'twould be
a woful waste o* words to be spakin' to any other
body round you ; so you '11 jist keep the mouth
shet, like a quiet dacent gintleman; for Sam
there — (he's handy by you) — has a knack for
stoppin' a pratin' tongue. Sam, sit by his ho-
nor, an* mind ordhers."
Mr. Pratt heard the willing subaltern obey
the command, and then the foot of, as he
judged, Cushneiche, sound along the retreat,
and die away abroad in the distance.
]>ETER OF THE CASTLE. 217
It was Cushneiche, who tracing back much of
the way they had come, at last gained a com-
manding point of ground, sat down and look-
ed around him. The person he expected and
awaited soon ran up, panting and impassioned,
after his farewell with Miss D'Arnell.
" What brings you here ?" he began, evi-
dently not expecting to meet Cushneiche ; " he
has escaped all your plans, I suppose P and do
you think to baffle me again, and at last ?"
" He hasn't escaped, Redmond ; he 's snug
undher the arch, where I tould you you'd find
him ; but I come to sit here for two rasons.
First, that you mightn't think he an* I had any
collodgin' together, while you stopped away ;
an' next, to have a little more discourse wid you,
betwixt ourselfs, afore you go to hear what he
has to tell you."
u We have had discourse enough, together,
outside the barn, just now ; but go on."
" Yes ; I gave you the account there, of how
I cum to pitch upon Pratt for the buyin' o' the
grounds an* the house for me an' you ; or for
yourself alone, Redmond a-chorra— that 's it ;
— an* the account of how I met him, an' put
you into his hands, an' was forced to lave the
parchments wid him, till I could call back soon,
VOL. III. l
218 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
an' get them up, and so make everything right, as
I thought; an' all that story you 're now to hear
agin, out of his mouth ; but where I got the
threasure to pay him, an' why I didn't come
back, as I laid out to do, for twenty long years
afther, you haven't heard from me yet, ma
" Nor is it necessary I should. I can guess
the account you would supply. You got the
money in a manner that it is disgrace and death
for me to think of, and you did not come back
because — " he stopped and hid his face with his
•hands. Cushneiche resumed.
" Ay, Redmond ; you needn't be tould it ;
I only went back to England to lay my hand
on the last lob I hid afore I brought you to
Pratt, my mind full of givin' up the ould
thrade, an* of settlin* in my own counthry,
wid a new name, an' rearin' you to be a gin-
tleman an' a good Christhen, an' you an' no
one else knowin' how it come about, when one
o' my nearest cronies sould the pass on me,
the very day I touched English ground, an' the
big wigs thought it was a great favour they
done me to send me across the wide seys, for
life, instead of — no matther what ; — that 's how
it all happened, Redmond. I couldn't make
# PETER OF THE CASTLE. 219
myself known to Pratt, afther this short turn ;
I was forced to lave you an' the parchments in
his hands, an' go on my long voyage, only ho-
pin* the day 'ud come when I might give them
the slip across the wather, an' speed to poor
Ireland to see you rightified ; but there was a
hard eye as well as a hard hand kept over me ;
an' it 's not many months sence I was able to
take my lave o' them at last, an' thravel here
to look for you. v
" And here your arrived, unhappy man, with
your old vices only confirmed by a reckoning of
twenty long years, and ready to break out
again into the recent acts that, above all former
ones, disgrace .your white hairs, and — if your
story is true — brand your most miserable off-
" I was poor an* friendless, an' bare an* na-
ked, Redmond, and what could I do ? I knew
no thrade but the ould one ; nothin' else came
handy to me ; an* then I had to wait to see you
in the counthry, an* gain a knowledge o' you,
by lookin' at you, that we might spake toge-
ther, an' that no one but you might know your
bad father was to the fore — an* how was I to
live while I waited ? More-betoken, a-bouchal — "
" No matter," interrupted Redmond ; " let
220 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
us end this, and go at once to Pratt. Is he kept
blindfolded as you promised ?"
" As blind as the bat, Redmond ; you can
stand by him, cheek by jowl, an' he '11 never
see you, if you hould your tongue ; % though it
was not Redmond alone that Cushneiche wished
to keep from Pratt's view.
" Come, then ;" Redmond walked forward.
" Come, a-vich ;" following him ; " an' you
won't wondher to hear me change the voice, an'
the way o' spakin' when we 're talkin' to him,
becase, you see, the time I put you into his
hands, I done the same thing, to throw dust
in his eyes, purtendin' to chaffer like a for'n
gintleman, or the like, that the tongue might
be a match to the story I tould, an 1 the cloathes
" I shall wonder at nothing, if you make that
story good to him and to me— quick, we lose
time ;" and Redmond and Cushneiche rapidly
walked back to the place where Mr. Pratt was
left in custody with " Yallow Sam."
That gentleman soon heard two persons ap-
proaching. He stretched his ear to ascertain if
one of them stepped like Cushneiche, to whose
tread, when a short time before he left the rob-
ber's den, Mr. Pratt had paid particular atten-
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 221
tion ; and he expected to recognize in the step
of the new-comer, the approach of his ward
Redmond. But he had to argue cases with one
as much, alive as he was to such nice calcula-
" Harkee, a-vich," whispered Cushneiche to
his companion, ere they came close ; " the ould
attorney 'ill know who you are, though he can't
see a stim, if you don't walk short an' sharp,
instid o' taking them seven-lague sthrides : by
the hand o' my body, he can smell you if you
stand betwixt his nose an 9 the wind ; so, just
walk in like some other body besides yourself ;
the same that I will sthrive to do, plase God."
And, true to his plan, Cushneiche assumed a
heavy, stalking gait, as he led the way to Pratt ;
while Redmond, following, broke up his usual
pace into the kind of mincing one his conductor
" That 's neither one nor the other of them,"
thought Mr. Pratt, as they entered ; " but I
must be observant."
Cushneiche pointed Redmond to stand in a
situation the most remote from which he could
perfectly hear the coming conversation. Then
he at once began to question his prisoner,
changing his voice, as he had premised to Red-
222. PETER OF THE CASTLE,
mond he would do, into a deep sonorous ca-
dence, and affecting to speak in the description
of broken English it might be supposed a Spa-
niard or a Spanish colonist would use ; but as
this embarrassed, if it did not in a degree bur-
lesque the rather important nature of die ques-
tions he asked and the answers he received, it
will be as well to translate his gibberish into
" Joshua Pratt, do you know why you are
brought here, to-night ?"
The prisoner started at the first sound of the
voice and language, but after a pause, said,
u Have a care ; recollect yourself. Can you
guess who asks you the question ?"
Pratt again paused a considerable time, and
at last answered — 6t Perhaps I do."
" Then you know why you are here. What
has become of your ward, Redmond Redmond ? v
".He left my house against my will or wish,
and is now, I believe and hope, in Dublin."
" Your house ?" Goon."
" I will."
" You know there is more than one pistol
at your head ; and you ought to know that if
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 223
you do not give true answers to all I shall de-
mand of you, the bullets they hold may soon fly
through your brain.""
" Well ; I shall speak under such an im-
" You know too, or you fear at least, that
the man who discourses with you is the man to
give the sign when the triggers are to be pull-
ed, because he has a right to judge the truth or
the falsehood of what you say."
"Be it so; I will speak the truth, and no-
thing but the truth."
" Hearken another word. You have done
great wrong, and you know that too; wrong
and dishonesty to an innocent child, and to a
stranger who trusted every thing dear to him
into your hands. But it is not now intended
to punish you; a true account of your own
villany, and justice, at last, to the victims of
it, is all that is asked. You shall not even be
called to a public account in any shape ; per-
haps you will even be allowed to j keep some of
" That is generous; I acknowledge having
done wrong, and am now more than ever in-
clined to make restitution."
884 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
" God send it But now mind yourself.
Who is the father of Redmond Redmond ?"
" I do not know ; that is, I do not clearly
and fully know."
" Have, you ever seen his father ?"
" I have seen the person from whom I re-
ceived the boy, and who called himself his
" By what name ?"
" Redmond Velasquez."
Cushneiche held up his finger to Redmond,
who bowed his head in agitated assent.
" What did he represent himself to be ?"
" A Spanish gentleman, partly of Irish ex-
traction, who had amassed great wealth in Spa-
nish America, and who was anxious to spend
the remainder of his life in Ireland."
Signals again passed between Cushneiche and
" What did you believe him to be ? v
" I believed his story at the time."
u Have you altered your opinion of it since ?
what do you now believe he was? what have
you reported he was, within the last few days ?"
Pratt slightly started, and for a moment was
silent, as if trying to accommodate his mind in
PETEfi OF THE CASTLE. 2S6
the best way to a new circumstance of his situa-
tion heretofore unexpected, or at least now made
" Why do you stop ? — Cock your pistol.
Pratt again winced under the click, close to
his ear, which instantly followed this command.
He quickly recovered himself, however.
" There is no need of your threat, or of this
shocking preparation, if, indeed, you mean to
keep your word with me, and save my life in re-
ward for the strict truth of my answers. I will
reply to your last question freely. I have alter-
ed my opinion of the story told to me by the
person who called himself Redmond Velasquez ;
that alteration of opinion was expressed in the
rumours to which you allude; and those ru-
mours went to say that my ward Redmond was,
most probably, the son of an individual who had
accumulated his wealth by repeated breaches of
the laws that, in every country, protect pro-
perty : 9
"You mean that he robbed and plundered
for it r
" Some such thing."
" Have you ever added, in the rumour, that,
since his transactions with you, Redmond Ve-
226 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
lasquez had, in all likelihood, suffered a shame-
ful death ?"
" Yes ; but I had little further authority for
that addition than the natural conclusion that,
unless prevented by such a fate, he would have
returned to claim his child and his property.'"
" What led you to think that he was the
character you now suppose he was ?"
" The answer had best be given in a shape
that, although lengthened, will contain a history
of all my knowledge on the subject, and all my
connexion with it."
" Answer as you like, but go on."
" But a short space of time is wanted to
make it twenty years since my meeting with the
man who called himself Redmond Velasquez.
Previous to our meeting, I was, as hundreds
remember, a poor and unemployed barrister,
mostly residing in the village yonder. A letter
came to me, from London, bearing his signa-
ture, which instructed me to treat, in his name,
for the purchase of a large estate, then to be
sold, in the neighbourhood. He had recently
been travelling in Ireland, he said, and, from a
passing view, liked the property ; and the let-
ter added accounts of his rank and character,
PETEE OF THE CASTLE. 227
and of his wish to spend the remainder of his
days in a country, to the people of which he
considered himself partially allied. It then
proceeded to instruct me to close the transaction
with the venders as quickly and as secretly
as possible ; to get title-deeds prepared in his
name, and that of his son, which was the same
with his ; and to expect him over in Ireland, in
a short time, to receive the deeds from me ; and
a£ my security, in obeying his wishes, the letter
enclosed the halves of two bills on a Dublin
house, of sufficient amount to make the pur-
chase, considerable as it was, and leave an over-
" My first step was to hasten to Dublin, call
at the house on which the bills were drawn, and
submit the signature of the drawer ; for the
halves remitted to me were those which bore
that signature. I was answered that the prin-
cipals were ready to honour the draughts, and,
moreover, had received advice of the drawing of
the bills from their highly-respectable mercan-
tile correspondent in London. After this, I did
not hesitate to write from Dublin to Redmond
Velasquez, acknowledging the enclosure, and
professing myself ready to proceed in the pur-
228 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
chase of the estate, so soon as he should remit
the second halves of the bills. They duly ar-
rived. I closed the business in his name, and
prepared and had the title-deeds legally exe-
" But I did not as quickly register them.
Even so soon, I began to have vague notions of
a certain mystery about my unknown corres-
pondent, of which, I argued, I might possibly
take advantage. While in Dublin, I recollect-
ed some friends that had spent the greater parts
of their lives in Spanish America, and were
acquainted with the names, at least, of almost
every person in the country, who, in their time,
had acquired wealth to the great seeming ex-
tent of the individual in question; and, without
at all betraying the confidence reposed in me —
indeed I guarded it for my own sake — I cau-
tiously asked if they recollected the name of
Redmond Velasquez. They had never heard
it. I went on to ask if it was probable a per-
son of that name could, for a series of years
before, have been acquiring vast riches in Spa-
nish America, without their knowledge. They
thought such a case quite impossible ; as they
had, themselves, been engaged in all the pur-
suits by which wealth was made in the colony,
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 229
and were certain that, from their long residence,
extensive mercantile and trading connections,
and minute information, they must have heard,
year after year, the title and description of
every such rising adventurer. But they referred
me to other sources of information, of which I
availed myself; and every inquiry only added
strength to my doubt, and I returned to my
village, resolved to act very cautiously.
'* In fact, I began to recollect that there were
ways of amassing wealth, on the high seas of the
Spanish Main, other than those warranted by
industry and fair dealing. Or it was possible,
I thought, for one of the free-booters who,
then, more than now, infested the high-roads in
England, to accumulate great riches without
crossing the Atlantic ; and if the money with
which I had purchased the estate was obtained
in any such manner, and could be proved to
have been so obtained, I was not able to resist
the vast hope of keeping in my own hands the
produce of booty over which a pirate or a rob-
ber could have no legal control. So I avoided
registering the deeds in the name of Redmond
Velasquez ; of course they were not registered
at all ; and I sat down to reduce my great and
agitating speculations to some order, and to
230 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
calculate, in case of the contingency I reckoned
as probable, how I should act. I was poor,
and the sudden prospect of wealth filled and
disturbed my whole soul.
" I wrote to an old schoolfellow in London
to make close inquiries as to who and what my
correspondent really was. I gave the address,
as supplied to me, and also the address of the
mercantile persons who had drawn the bills,
hinting an obscure suspicion, which, as my
friend was also in the law, would however set
him earnestly at work. To this letter I got no
answer for a long time ; ray friend was out of
London. But another circumstance gave al-
most the assurance which an answer from him,
containing certain information, might have sup-
plied. Redmond Velasquez did not come, as
quickly as he had given me to expect, to claim
his purchase ; — weeks, months, wore away,
and I did not hear from him or of him, in
any shape. My over-anxious calculations be-
gan to flatter me with the supposition, that
already some event, some discovery or unex-
pected chance, to which all persons of the cha-
racter -I had supplied to him are liable, must
have occurred to keep him back, and perhaps
cut him off for ever, by death or necessitous
PETEA OF THE CASTLE. 231
self -banishment, from the enjoyment of his
estate. My toiling and needy hands began to
• tremble with the pleasureable anticipations of
a great change in life and circumstances, and
ambition and avarice whispered delicious pro-
spects, when I was suddenly brought to my
senses, and plunged back into all my conscious-
ness of laborious poverty.
" He came at last.
" My humble village-house directly faced
the little inn, and as I stood at my office win-
dow, one dark and drizzling evening in No-
vember, 17-*-, a private travelling-carriage of
a sombre colour, rattled down the empty street,
and stopped at the inn-door. An arrival so
unusual, in a place so retired and inland, did
not fail to arouse general curiosity ; every one
ran to look out at their doors or windows ; but
no one felt the novelty as I did. I had been
indulging one of my brightest visions, and it
vanished like a dream the moment the equi-
page appeared ; my heart sunk in a sickening
omen. Some one got out of the carriage, en-
tered the inn, and I stood sure of a summons.
I was not disappointed. In a few moments,
the landlord hurried across -the street, knocked
loudly at my door, and informed me, in breath-
282 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
less bustle and amaze, that a foreign gentleman,
a prince, he believed, desired to see me. I said
I would attend him. The landlord went back;
I sat an instant, to summon up my self-posses-
sion, and to arrange all the points I could think
of, and then followed him.
" I was ushered into the principal room in
the little inn. A stranger, certainly wearing a
foreign dress, and having a foreign air, paced
quickly up and down the apartment. It was,
as I have said, deep twilight, and I could not
see his features distinctly; they were further hid-
den by his broad-leafed hat ; but he wore mus~
tachoes, and had an air of mixed fierceness and
nobility.' The landlord, who had opened the
door to me, asked, before he withdrew, if he
should bring a light. The stranger answered
no, in an abrupt tone, and commanded him to
begone. I remained standing at the door, and
bowed, repeatedly. For some time he took no
notice of me, although, in continuing to pace
up and down, we often confronted each other.
Perhaps, too, the state of my feelings and
thoughts towards him, and the sudden arrival
and view of a person so high and grand in his
appearance and manner, at the very moment I
had been investing him with a disgraceful cha-
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 333
racter, gave a humiliated and mean expression
to my face, person, and bearing, which deprived
me, in his mind, of any right to the usual
forms of respect.
u At last, suddenly stopping before me, he
said, speaking in the foreign phrase and lan-
guage you speak in, — and, as well as I can
remember, the tone of the voice was the same,
i Your name is Pratt, and we have correspond-
" I assented. He proceeded to demand if the
estate had been purchased. I answered that
it had. Then he called on me for the title
deeds. I readily replied, according to previous
arrangement, that I had sent them to Dublin
to be registered. He seemed not to understand
this, but expressed and showed great impatience
and anger at not immediately getting them. I
explained the necessity of the proceeding, and,
after a pause, he desired me to go out of the
room, write an acknowledgment that I had pur-
chased the estate, and executed the titles, in his
name, and on his account ; that the latter were
not immediately forthcoming, in consequence
of the reason I gave ; but that, on his speedy
return, I should have them ready. I withdrew
accordingly, and, at the same time, he walked
234 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
into an inner room, and I heard him asking for
lights. When I returned with the form of ac-
knowledgment, I found him again in the outer
apartment. He snatched the paper from me,
and a second time passed into the now lighted
room. In a few seconds he called to the land-
lord, who immediately attended him, and, as I
afterwards learned, whom he caused to sign the
paper, as a witness, having first ascertained
that the man had just seen me writing and
" Again he joined me, and said, * You will
be the better of your connexion with this affair,
if you are willing still to do all I require of you.
I cannot now stop to take possession of my
estate, being called away by pressing business
to France, and it is with difficulty I have been
able to spare time for my present journey ; but
I wish to leave my son in your care until I
return ; and I empower you to take possession
of the house on my estate, in his name and
mine, to live there with him until I return,
and to act as my agent, upon an annuity of five
hundred pounds. Do you consent ?'
" After a moment's pause, I gave an affirma-
" i But what I wish you to do is to be done
fETEft OF THE CASTLE. 235
promptly ,\ he continued ; ' you must take charge
of my son this very night, if at all ; and he is
not quite at hand; his nurse and he got ill
after the little sea voyage* and, as time pressed,
I left them on the coast. Can you come with
me this moment to meet them ? Your refusal
or denial makes us friends, or ends our ac-
" Thus pressed, and by no meang wishing to
lose sight of the man, or, supposing me to fail
in higher aims, of the annuity he proposed, I
at once consented. He then only delayed in the
inn to recompense the landlord for the trouble
he had given, when, desiring me to follow him
to his carriage, we got into it, and were rapidly
driven out of the village.
" It was about nine o'clock. The night fell
fast and black, and, though sitting opposite to .
him, I lost all view of my companion. Scarce
a word was exchanged between us. He never
began to converse ; and when I ventured a re-
mark, or asked a question, he only yielded an
abrupt monosyllable, which sounded as if I had
roused him from slumber. At midnight,^ we
gained the little sea-coast hamlet of . The
carriage stopped at a mean public-house. He
got out, desiring me to await his coming back.
236 PETJtB OF THE CASTLE.
Era he passed from my view, some seafaring
men met him near the carriage, and, pointing
towards the shore, spoke to him in a whisper.
He looked, nodded, as if in assent, and left
them. I also looked, and indistinctly saw the
sails of a vessel, as if unfurled for a voyage.
He soon returned, accompanied by two women,
one of a foreign aspect and dress, the dther a
woman of the place. The former carried a child
beneath her cloak, and banded it to the latter,
who had just been engaged to take care of the -
infant as far as I was to accompany it.
" ' There is your charge,* he said, handing
the poor woman and her burden into the car-
riage to me. ' When you arrive at home, en-
gage a regular nurse for the child. Take the
carriage with you, as, until I return, I shall
not want it ; and take this too,' giving me a
heavy purse, 'lest you have not sufficient mo-
ney left for your new purposes; we shall strike
an account soon. Now, good night;' and, pass-
ing the arm of the foreign-looking female
through his, , both walked towards the vessel,
whose canvas was spread to the wind. The
child thus given up to me was my ward, Red-
mond Redmond. When his father had remain-
PBTBB OF THJC CASTLE. 287
ed years away, that was tbe name I confirmed
" The carriage drove back, without a mo-
ment's delay, towards my native village. I was
in hopes of being able to gain, by questioning
the driver, whom, at the inn, I observed was
the stranger's own servant, some information
or clue to all this mystery ; but when, before
daybreak, we arrived at our destination, I saw
I had been accompanied home by another man,
an inhabitant, like tbe. temporary nurse, of tbe
small sea-coast hamlet. From them nothing
important could be expected; and I forbore
questioning them, lest, in furtherance of a plan
that during the journey 1 had conceived, it
might be supposed I was at a loss to account
for any thing to which they knew 1 was a wit-
" That same morning I took possession of
the very noble mansion attached to the estate.
The woman who had brought Redmond home,
I sent back to her hamlet, without a remark,
and put the child to nurse at the farm-house,
where I have spent this present evening.
Then, prepared to account for the step to the
stranger on the ground of making fit arrange-
ments for his return, in case he should return,
288 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
I boldly set to work to form a household
establishment commensurate with the consider-
able rental of which he or I was to be the pro-
prietor : all the while avoiding to satisfy any of
the numerous inquiries that I knew would arise
as to ray changed situation. My first corres-
pondence with Redmond Velasquez I had kept,
a& 1 have said, a profound secret ; no one had
heard of such a name except the persons from
whom I made the purchase, and they were
English assignees, who long before left the
country : it could not, therefore, be suspected
that I was merely the agent of another proprie-
tor of the property ; the astonished neighbours
would, i argued, at once invest me with that
proprietorship ; and I left them to unriddle, at
their leisure, the mystery of how I arrived at
such amazing good fortune. First, I secluded
myself from all visitors, and so got rid of the
trouble of giving vague or equivocating answers.
Then I secretly left the country, and spent
much time in Dublin ; and when I returned
home, chance threw in my way a man who, by
proper management, I found would be exactly
the person to give, without involving me, the
kind of impression I wished to have confirmed.
This man was William Cotteril. He had been
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 239
employed by my land steward to assist in the
collection of small rents, and had therefore some
access to me. I observed that, under affecta-
tion of great simplicity, he hid a griping sense
of his own interests, a subserviency and a kind
of devotion to any one that could promote them,
and, above all, a smooth and irresistible knack
of gaining the secrets of others, or of insinu-
ating whatever statement he wished to be be-
lieved. After attaching him to me by the means
I knew would succeed, I soon detected him,
during our half-confidential hours of business,
trying to win from me some notions of how I
had so suddenly arisen from penury into afflu-
ence. Not seeming to notice his view, or, at
least, to notice it with displeasure, I took him in
the way that served my purpose. First, I
gave him vaguely to understand that a brother
of mine, whom all the village were aware had
in his boyhood gone to sea, died abroad in very
flourishing circumstances. Next, that he left a
son ; next, that when I went to Dublin, upon
receipt of the London letter, it might have
been for the purchase-money of the estate ; —
and then, the stranger with whom it was known
I left the inn, might be the foreign agent who
had charge of my nephew, and also of other
240 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
effects of my deceased brother. But through
all this story I never made an assertion.
And, in conclusion, I hinted that for certain
grievous domestic reasons, not to be explain-
ed, I was not left at liberty to bring up my
ward in the knowledge of his father's name
or character, or of the manner of his death.
At the same time, I knew Cotteril would re-
peat every word I had said, with his own
modifications and additions ; indeed, I made
him feel, unknown to himself, that such might
be my wish ; and he was precisely the man, in
fact, to make himself useful. ^
"It was soon known that I wished no ques-
tions to be asked on the subject : and although,
in consequence of this belief, a taint might be
supposed to attach to the memory of my bro-
ther, and to the way in which his wealth had
accrued, yet the usual influence of riches did
not fail in my regard, and I took my rank as a
gentleman of great property, and my estated
neighbours overlooked the doubt.
" All this while it is needless to observe that
Redmond Velasquez did not return. But, if
he had, I could fear nothing from the story that
prevailed. I could prove that I had never au-
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 841
thorized it ; I could challenge any man to say
I had ; and even if he suspected my tampering
with Cotteril, I could make him assured that
my obscure equivocation was only meant to
ward off from him the idle curiosity and in-
quiries which he had not yet given me formal
instructions to gratify.
" Years rolled on without his appearance or
any communication from him. My original
conjectures as to his character, and hopes of
investing myself with the estate, grew every
day stronger. And a letter at last came from
my London legal friend which made me almost
certain. He had inquired at the address first
supplied by Redmond Velasquez, and the pro-
prietors of the house threw much question on
that individual. No one in London knew him
or his followers; the house which had drawn
the bills forwarded to me, received value in raw
bullion, at his own hands ; he had left his lodg-
ings with a promise to return, which he had
never fulfilled ; much valuable property re-
mained unclaimed behind him ; and, most im-
portant of all, a few weeks after his departure,
officers of justice had been inquiring about him,
or some of his companions.
u From the first, my mind was embarrassed
VOL. III. m
248 PETEE OF THE CASTLE.
with respect to the child he had left in my
charge. Justice, and justice even to my own
feelings and conscience, required that I should
bring up the boy well, and destine him to enjoy
a part, at least, of the wealth acquired by his
reputed father. But I could never acquaint
him with his real claim, because I should then
run the risk of being by him deprived of the
portion I reserved for myself. While deeply
considering the question, about three years after
he was placed in my hands I married ; became
the father of a daughter ; and now I thought I
saw a pleasing future prospect of doing him
full justice, and, at the same time, of protect-
ing my own interests. I supposed it natural
that he and my child, brought up together, in
the same house, would form a youthful attach-
ment which might end in their union ; and thus
he would eventually possess the whole estate,
*nd, until my death, I should enjoy it with him.
As the children grew up, my views seemed
to prosper. When old enough to understand
the nature of a mutual passion, I saw that
they loved each other. Redmond, at nineteen
years, paid to his young companion every atten-
tion likely to subdue her heart, and it was evi-
dent that he succeeded to a degree which made
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 24S
all her hopes of happiness in this life dependent
upon him. And now I draw to a close. He
has left my house without an adequate reason,
just at the moment I contemplated his hap-
piness. Occasionally, indeed, I thought it my
' duty to urge him to studies necessary for the
proper formation of his mind, and for the due
support of the rank and place he would be called
to fill ; but surely that was not an adequate
reason ; and, upon the night he disappeared, he
provoked me, by, he will admit, wherever he
is, very cruel treatment, to make an allusion to
the fact of his mysterious parentage which, while
I am very sorry for it, could not warrant his
elopement, either. If the person who addresses
me has any real interest in the lad, and if he
knows what has become of him, let Redmond
be advised to return to my house — to his own
house — and that will be a better course. I may,
indeed, be dispossessed of the estate ; but that
cannot happen in a very short time ; and before
it happens, the statute of limitations may come
into effect, in my favour, and the law of the
land continue me in the property I have so long
held without a question.
Or, if, as from the first I suspected, a stains,
rests on his parentage, which it will not be for his
244 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
honour or happiness to have known, there is no
conduct so prudent for him to pursue, as that
which I advise. It is evident that the persons
now around me have a sincere interest in his wel-
fare, and therefore they will keep the secret which
they seem previously to have known, or of which
my statement puts them in possession ; I will
keep it, as evidently, for my own sake ; and so,
Redmond has only to form an alliance to which
he has made honourable advances, and which,
every thing else apart, involves the happiness,
perhaps the life, of an ingenuous girl, and the
feelings of an affectionate father, and then keep
his own secret, too, and all will lje well.
I speak as much for him as for myself, or for
the young lady whose cause he has compelled
me, however reluctantly or painfully, to advocate.
And if friends or relations are at last arrived to
urge his claim, perhaps I speak with a view to
their credit and advantage also. Certainly, no
good can arise to any one from unnecessary
exposure ; and I only wish Redmond himself
were here, to witness, from my own lips, the sen-
timents of sincere affection and anxiety I have
always entertained towards him. I have done.
What I have said is the truth, the whole truth,
and nothing but the truth, as God can witness/'
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 245
There was a profound silence after Mr.
Pratt had done speaking. But the groans, the
sobs, and the hard breathings of Redmond
might be heard in the pause ; and as well, in-
deed, might they have been heard during the
recital, which, at different stages affected him,
now with wonder, now with anguish and de-
spair. Nor is it to be supposed that, from such
symptoms, a mind so acute as Mr. Pratt's, re-
mained long in doubt of the presence of his
ward. In fact, he recognised his very breath-
ing, the first moment it became audible from
emotion, and all along had told his story and
made his remarks under the certainty that Red-
mond was listening.
Perhaps the reader has already suspected as
much, from the seemingly generous kind of self-
accusation, and the superfluous humility, rather
£46 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
out of keeping with Mr. Pratt's character, which
occasionally insinuated itself into his manner of
telling his story ; and his concluding sentiments
and exhortation may have more particularly
suggested the idea.
During the statement, Cushneiche had never
once forgotten to appeal by signs for Redmond's
acknowledgment of a previous acquaintance with
the facts, as they occurred. Now, he was the
first to move, after Mr. Pratt remained some
time silent Preserving his heavy stride, he
walked to the mouth of the retreat, beckon-
ing Redmond to attend him. The unhappy
youth, showing by his features and gesticula-
tion the most lively agony of mind, follow-
ed. They walked aside some distance from
" Well, ma-bouchal, did I tell you any thing
that wasn't the thruth ?"
46 No, no ; your story and your claim are but
too true and certain."
" And what man but the man Pratt calls
Redmond Velasquez, could give you the know-
ledge aforehand, of all that passed between the
both, from first to last ?"
" I admit it — I admit it fully. Go on."
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 247
" And now, is there any notion come into
your poor head of what you 're goin' to do ?"
" Die, die !" answered Redmond, groaning
miserably ; " I have nothing to do but die."
" Huth ; you 're as good as two dead men,
yet. Will you be said by me ?"
" Say any thing you like."
" Take Pratt's advice then."
" How ?"
" Make up to the poor colleen you coaxed so
" That 's a mistake ; a mistake very disho-
nouring to me. I never paid the explicit atten-
tions he speaks of ; I never wished to pay them,
and it is impossible the young lady can have
misunderstood me to the extent he says she
" Whisht, Redmond; they 're soft, wake poor
cratures, you know, an' a little o' the smooth
tongue, from a likely gor^oon, goes far with
them ; the colleen thinks you meant to be sweet
on her, an' so, you bothered her, that 's all,
whichever way you wanted it to be; — sure
there 's many a way of killin' a dog besides hang-
in 9 him. Look at the matther agin. The ould
attorney spakes rason. It's the best coorse."
848 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
" Best or worst, it can never be mine. I do
not and, never will, never can regard the young
lady in such a light.*"
" Not if her heart is broke with your puttin'
your comether* on her, is it ? Is that what you
say, Redmond a-vich ?"
Redmond only shut his eyes and groaned again.
" It 's the best way, I tell you. An* Red-
mond, none of us can afford to be found out ;
an' as I said afore, an' all along, never fear me ;
I'll dhraw far off from you, where you can send
me sonjethin' for the bit and the sup, and where
ril get the priest, an' ax God's }iardon for my
past life, every day he spares me, from this out,
an' never come next or near you ; an' Pratt, as
he tould you himself, 'ill hould his whisht for
his own sake. But come into him again.
It 's on my mind to throuble him wid another
They returned, and Cushneiche, resuming his
broken English, again addressed Mr. Pratt :
" You said in the beginning you believed you
knew who was speaking to you. You said af-
terwards you believed the speech and the voice
were like ; now, tell the truth still ; who am I
that stand before you ?"
* Earnest addresses.
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 249
u From every circumstance, I can conclude
you are no other than the man who called him-
self, when twenty years ago we met, Redmond
Velasquez : your apparently intimate know*
ledge of things, which only he and I could
know, is my- strongest reason for the pre-
" Well, then ; what have you done with the
title-deeds you before refused to give up ? v *
<c They are safe in my house."
" Secured, you think, in an iron box, which
is chained and locked to the floor of a closet, in-
side your bed-room ? n
** How do you know that ? w abruptly de-
manded Mr. Pratt, in alarm.
" I will tell the truth, too. I went with a
few friends to lpok for them, before you were
brought here, this evening; and not finding
them in any of your drawers, desks, or lockers,
I thought it was likely you might have them
in that strong box. But do you know that
they are to be got in it now ?"
" Villain r exclaimed Pratt, thrown off his
guard, by interpreting this statement and ques-
tion further than the speaker really had intend-
ed — " and you, Redmond Redmond, for I
know you listen to me — villains, both, have a
250 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
care what you do ! — If these parchments have
been robbed out of my house n
" Your house, I ask you over again ?" — in-
terrupted Cushneiche, in his own voice. _
" Ah r screamed Pratt — " there ! I know
you now, at least, and perceive my advantage
over you ; — and by Heaven if *
" None o* your gab," cried Yellow Sam,
poking his pistol at the prisoner's head.
" You dare not injure me, ruffian P' resumed
Mr. Pratt — " you dare not take my life P* the
prospect of the loss of the title-deeds made him
rash and frantic — "or even, were you in-
clined, there is one among you — Redmond !
Redmond, will you see me murdered ?"
He tore the bandage off his eyes, and saw,
indeed, Redmond and Cushneiche before him,
while Yellow Sam was his only guard, and
along with them, the only witness of his im-
portant admissions, although he had thought
that three or four fellows surrounded him.
" Gf me the word, captain," said Sam.
"Stop, stop!" exclaimed Redmond, as he
sprang forward, and knocked the pistol out of
his hand. It went off as it fell, and had scarce-
ly exploded, when another shot seemed to an-
swer it at a distance.
PETER 01* THE CASTLE. 251
" What the duoul is that ?" asked Cushneiche.
t€ One o' the cruizers givin 1 us back our own
signal,*" answered Sam, whose great coat was now
thrown by, allowing to be seen his sailor's dress.
" Givin' us a signal, it may be," resumed
Cushnieche, " but one of another kind— yes, by
the blessed light ! — here comes our boys.™
Persons were heard running through the
retreat, which, so far as Mr. Pratt could now
discern, was an arched passage, partially light-
ed by a rude lamp suspended over the spot
where he stood, both extremities gradually fad-
ing into darkness : still he was at fault as to
where it could be situated.
" Make off ! run for your lives !" cried the
three or four men who rushed in — " here 's the
sodgiers from *
" What side are they comirf from ?" briskly,
and with an air of courageous self-possession,
" Sthraight for the ould house/ he was an-
" Did ye hape the stones agin the mouth o'
the place V
" There was no time— they cum hot on us."
** Two o' ye down with the bresna, at the
other end ; then*— lowering his voice as he '
252 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
heard his enemies approaching through the
darkened passage — " down with bough and
branch — run, or my curse on ye!" they dis-
appeared — " an' here, ye two hoise this good
gintleman up, an* folly where Sam 'ill coax ye;
asy, Misther Pratt, an' don't vex men in a
hurry-^asy, all, an* mind the work — Redmond,
a-vich, stick by me, an' handle this"— giving a
Wretched man !" answered Redmond, dash-
ing it to the ground : " do you so soon expect
me to train myself to your ways ? Begone,
and save your miserable life ; I stand here
hoping the first bullet may end mine.'"
" Headsthrong gawk o' the duoul !" retorted
Cushneiche, stamping in one of the fierce and
sharp fits that were habitual to him : a do you
think betther men than yourself is to venthre
neck an' breath for one that won't stir hand or
foot to take his own part ? off with you, afther
Sam,— off. with you, or ma curp on duoul!
I '11 Hell's fire ! What's the matther, there
below, Yallow Sam ?" as the person he address-
ed, together with Mr. Pratt and his conduc-
tors, hastily returned to the spot on which he
and Redmond were disputing.
" Boarded, captain," replied Sam ; w an* Me-
PETEK OF THE CASTLE. 253
lay an' Ryan nabbed as they stept from the
" How 's that ? who nabbed 'em ?"
" More o' the marines, at this end."
" Are they in yet ? quick an* tell me. v
" Not yet"
" Then, a bould part — hauld silence an' fol-
ly me." With his left hand he presented a
pistol, and grasped a hanger in the other, and
he, and his three men faced in the direction
whence Sam had just appeared. After, a few
steps they all became invisible in the gloom.
Redmond and Mr. Pratt continued under the
lamp, the former with his arms folded, in an
attitude of reckless despair ; the other anx-
iously listening. There was a single shot, soon
returned by a volley, that roared in echoes
through the vault, and a moment after, Cush-
neiche, Sam, and one of the men, ran back.
" Dhar Dieu ! they have it this bout, ,J said
Cushneiche, " they war too far in upon us —
Bulger is down."
" Down — " added Yellow Sam, "an* dead
as could lead can make him."
" An* whisht ! — here *s more o* them, dosin'
on the other side of us — " continued Cush-
neiche, as the noise of men and arms sounded at
£54 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
the end of the vault by which Mr. Pratt had
entered. Nearly at the same instant, a body of
soldiers appeared, the officer at their head cry-
ing out — " Surrender, or no quarter ." The old
robber hastily turned upon the new comers one
savage glance of baffled courage and desperation,
while his lips, parting from his set teeth, gave
such a brindling grin as the bull-dog is noted
for, and then hurling his hanger upon the pistol
Redmond had cast on the straw beneath their
feet, said — " Now, ma-bouchal, you have your
will for the two of us — an' I wish you joy of the
neck-stock youll wear the next market-day ;"
and he stood for the soldiers.
" I will believe you think I am obliged for
this timely service, Lieutenant Noble," said Mr.
Pratt, extending his hand to the officer, to whom
he was known — " who led you on ? n
" A servant or follower of yours, I believe,
Mr. Pratt; a long-legged, wavering figure of
a fellow, with a face the colour of my coat ;
and the sheerest coward, notwithstanding, un-
hanged, this moment."
" You must mean Cotteril — where is he ?"
" Where is he ? — skulking in some hiding-
hole of the old ruin abroad ; he ran back at the
PF.TKB OF THE CASTLE. 265
first flash of powder ; perhaps the pause in
affairs may give him courage to crawl out."
Two shots, in quick succession, interrupted
the officer, who faced round, and prepared his
men for a new rencounter. Cuahneiche listened .
attentively. Mr. Pratt grew pale. The rever-
beration of the shots had not died away, when
the clashing of a sword, accompanied by a voice
which Mr. Pratt recognized as that of his faith-
. ful Billy Cotteril, took up the echo.
" Folly afther me, sodgiers — never venthre,
never win ! — little harum is done on me, though
the bullets came near enough — an' what's the
matther about ten Bill Cottherils, for the sake
o' the poor masther — folly afther me, sodgier-
lioys — we'll gain the day, somehow, or some-
way— Chrosh-a-chreesthn V as he made his ap-
pearance flourishing a naked sword round his
head — " how did ye come for to get afore me,
" Who fired the shots, you amusing pol-
troon ?" demanded the officer.
" There was three — maybe more, somehow,
but three for sart'n — three desperate roolachi *
* Wicked looking fellows.
856 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
iv 'em— an' they war set upon bein* the death o'
poor Bill Cottheril— only we didn't let 'em,
somehow, or someway :" while he spoke,, he
pulled off his hat, and holding it up to the
light, with a smiling — " ha — faiks it's we have
the, loock on our side," exhibited two bullet
holes in the crown.
" Where did you meet the men that fired at
you ?" continued Lieutenant Noble.
" Arragh, Sir, he fired the shots, himself ,"
said Cushneiche ; " you 'd hear the bawls out of
him, for a good mile o' ground, if a gbr^oon
only showed him the mouth of a quart bottle :
he 'd lose six inches of his ungainly hoith if a
farh-breeacha* only wagged the caubeen at him,
in a blast o* wind— see here — " dexterously
snatching a pistol from the champion's breast, "it
isn't long sence this gave a bark, any how ;" and
the officer, examining the pistol, ascertained, in-
deed, that it bore the marks of recent explosion.
" A civil, quite, asy kind iv a life, is a good
kind iv a life to lade, masther Cushneiche,"
said Cotteril, moving off from the robber to-
wards his master.
* Liar— The scare-crow set up in a corn-field.
PETER OF THE CASTLE. £57
" Where ate we, at present, Cotteril ?" asked
" Td be bould to say there was onct a power
tf good licqer haped up in this undher-ground
place, here, when the Graces lived in their
glory," answered Cotteril.
" How did you discover the haunt f
" Avoch, someway or somehow. There was
a boy we know, an 1 he had the knowledge iv a
boy o' the Bulgers ; an' the boy we know, spa-
kin' somehow wid Thady Bulger on one thing
or another, put in that he could bring him to a
body 'ud give him the honest worth for ould
watches, or ould silver plates, or ould silver
moogs, or things o' the sort; an' a bargain was
sthruck ; an' Thady went bis road for the little
matthers : an 1 there was a body afther him that
went along, quite an 1 asy, afther a manner he
has, an' he seen Thady comin* an' gora' ; an' so
Bill Cottherill cum to a knowledge, someway or
" The duoul mend Bulger, then," whispered
Cushneiche to Yellow Sam.
" He arned the worth o' the bullet," assented
" Let us dispatch our business," said Lieu-
£58 PETER OF THE CA8TLE.
tenant Noble. " Have we a prisoner here,
Mr. Pratt ?" glancing to where Redmond stood,
his arms still folded, and his face and air
betokening the dogged indifference he really
felt : " have we any prisoner here, after his
excellency, Cushneiche, the fellows abroad with
the sergeant, and these two others ?"
Mr. Pratt was silent ; but a glance passed
between him and Cotteril, who answered,
" Avoch, Captain, sure Masther Redmond,
there, must be caged, too ; I'll gf you an honest
oath, plump, — an' Bill Cottheril wouldn't hurt
his poor sowl for a threasure o' goold — "
" For never a laffina undher a crown piece,"
" I "*11 gi' you my oath, plump, that he 's at
the head of all that cum acrass us, someway or
somehow : I '11 swear out, clane, on the green
cloth, I seen him, a week agone, cullodgirC wid
Cvishneiche on the top o' the first hill, outside
o' the house ; and I '11 give the honest, civil
oath, agin, that they turned off as thick as
any gossips, together, an' is livin' together, af-
ther a manner ever sence like Sodgiers P
interrupting himself, and making a long stride
in among them, as Cushneiche, with a—" Stand
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 369
out o* the way, you ballour !" seized him by
the arm, and twisted him aside.
From all that had lately passed between his
master and him, as well as from the signal just
given, Mr. Cotteril believed it his business to in-
volve Redmond in as much danger as possible.
" What do you say, Mr. Pratt ?" asked the
officer. The person he addressed, started from
a reverie, and then seemed to answer by turn-
ing to his ward.
. " First, Redmond, let the plunder of the
strong-box be given up."
" I know nothing of it," replied Redmond.
" Npr I, either," added Cushneiche ; " that
was all a notion o' your own makin\ v
" Is it the sthrong-box you 're afeard about,
masther ?" asked Cotteril ; " praise be to God,
that 's safe an' sound, any how : they thried
their best to break it open, or lift it, bud they
were forced to let it alone, afther a manner ;
jist as if a body found a mare's nest, or caught
a hault iv a Tarthar, someway or somehow."
•' Are you sure this is true, Cotteril ?" asked
Mr. Pratt, advancing close, and speaking in a
whisper to his prime minister : " have you seen
it safe, after them ?*
260 FETE* OF THE CASTLE.
" Wid my two rasonable eyes, plase your ho-
nour, that 's not used to be makin' mistakes,
" Go on with your charges against him, not-
withstanding/ continued Mr. Pratt, in a close
whisper: " insist — whatever I say— -on having
him arrested ;" and Mr. Pratt walked away.
Mr. Cotteril, fully taking his cue, turned the
tobacco quid in his cheek, gave a preparatory
emission, looked virtuously determined, stretch-
ed out one leg, and with the point of his sword,
(the weapon could not have been in more harm-
less hands) in lieu of his usual appendage, the
switch, began to scrape together the straws and
rushes that strewed the floor of the vault.
" Bill Cottheril had always an 9 ever the ka-
racther to be honest, an* quite, an* asy ; an' it's
a way wid him to have more likin' for ho-
nest doins', an' for fair dalins', than for the bit
an 9 the sup ; an' so, masther, I can't be led
or said by you : an* when I only do what 's
right an' honest, little fear, plase God, bud
some other 'ill gi' me mate an' dhrink, an' the
manes iv honest livin' : an' for the same rason,
Captain, afther a manner, you '11 saze upon our
poor slob, masther Redmond ; there 's a fair
oath for id."
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 261
" I will make you smart for refusing my
earnest request," said Mr. Pratt ; " this is in-
solent and ungrateful. 1 '
" Och, there's no help for id, any how or
any way ; we must see right done, whatever
comes acrass poor Bill Cottheril."
" Does this determine my course of duty,
Mr. Pratt ?" continued the officer.
- " You shall judge for yourself, Sir," an-
swered Pratt; "but if I had my will here, it
should not be so."
Lieutenant Noble advanced to Redmond.
" I am sorry, Mr. Redmond, for old ac-
quaintance sake, that this becomes my duty."
" Mind your duty, Sir, and mind me only as
far as your duty concerns me," said Redmond,
proudly and savagely.
'* Bind the other prisoners, and lodge them
in the gaol at ," resumed the Lieutenant.
" But surely, Sir, this youth may accom-
pany you thither without undergoing such an
indignity ?" pleaded Mr. Pratt.
" It was my intention that he should, Sir."
" I will accept no paltry obligation at one
side or the other, good gentlemen," said Red-
. mond ; " I want it not, I despise it ; bind me ;"
stretching out his arms.
S62 PETE* OF THE CASTLE.
The tyin' iv him 11 make him go more
quite an' asy, afther a manner," exhorted Cot*
" Silence, fellow," cried the officer sternly,
" or — let me see what my duty permits me to
do with you — I will set you to guard your
little friend, Cushneiche, alone, and leave Mm
unbound to give your zeal fair play."
" Why then only do that, Sir, in jest or
arnest," said Cushneiche with a grim smile, as
the soldiers tied his arms behind his back,
" an' whatever happens on the road, by the
sowl o' my father, 1 11 never thry to gi* ye the
slip — only," fixing a glance on Cotteril, " a
body may 's well be hanged for a sheep as a
" We Ve too quite an* asy in oursefs, for a
thing o* the sort," demurred Cotteril, skulking
into the back-ground.
In a short time all left the retreat, and still
in the dark of the February morning, moved
for the town of- . Mr. Pratt now knew
that he had been led into the ruins of an old
mansion, formerly belonging to a branch of a
noble family of the country, whose estate fell
to the crown, during the last civil wars. It was
not far from the river over which he had at
PETER OF THE CASTLE. " 268
first been borne, and he perceived that the
fording of a second stream, and Cushneiche's
allusions to the circumstance, were but a ruse,
in conjunction with their turning and twining,
to baffle his calculation of his real situation.
In fact, he had twice crossed the same current.
While Cushneiche and his followers were
guarded by the soldiers in a body, Redmond
was allowed to walk on singly, under the charge
of the sergeant and one file. Having gained,
ascending from the river-side, the road which
led, in one direction, to their place of desti-
nation, and, in another, through the village, to
Mr. Pratt's house, that gentleman paused and
advanced to Redmond.
" I need not say how this affects me, Red-
mond," he began ; " but do not be too much
cast down ; we must now part— it is absolutely
necessary, in order that Ellen's fears may be
soothed by my appearance at home ; but I will
visit you in the course of the day, and, not-
withstanding the imprudent obstinacy of this
ungrateful scoundrel, Cotteril, see what is to
be done ; 'till then, at all events, the committals
shall not be made out ; the magistrates are my
friends ; farewell for a while, Redmond."
He extended his hand. Redmond, motioning
264 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
to his guards, walked on in silence. Mr. Pratt,
with a heavy sigh, turned homeward. Cotteril
attended the party.
. An hour s march brought them before the
gaol door, in the main street of the town. Still
the morning had not broke, and the street was as
silent as the grave, but for the echoing of their
own tramp through it Cotteril and the ser-
geant knocked loud and long before the gao-
ler was roused to attend at the barred entrance.
With continued zeal, and a few brief and im-
portant words of explanation, Cotteril mono-
polized the duty of giving the prisoners in
charge. The gaoler stared in surprise, when he
saw Redmond handed over to his care; and
now Cotteril looked more important, and catch-
ing the man's eye, as he rubbed all over his
chin with the palm of his hand, gave one or
two mysterious yet emphatic nods, as much as
to say — " all right, I assure you, whatever you
a Gaoler," said Lieutenant Noble, as Redmond
passed the grated door — " I will be your au-
thority for any particular attention you can
show this poor young gentleman."
" Gaoler," growled Redmond, " let me be
treated exactly as my companions are ; I am
PETEE OF THE CASTLE. 265
as guilty as they ; and whatever they deserve,
" It 's a thruth he tells you, an* be said
by him," observed Cotteril, as he withdrew
after the officers and soldiers, and as the gaoler,
with a professional twist, shot the first lock on
Until proper apartments could be provided
for each, Redmond, Cushneiclie, and Yellow
Sam were ushered into the gaoler's parlour, and
their three companions into another room ; and
the man went to make his arrangements. Red-
mond dropped into the first seat he met, and
tearing open his coat and vest, as if instinctively
to seek a little relief for his stuffed bosom,
leaned his elbows on a rude table, and hid his
face with his hands. , Yellow Sam lounged to the
recess of the window, and seating himself at his
ease, turned sideways to look out at the sentinel,
who was pacing up and down before the en-
trance. Cushneiche stood opposite to Redmond,
attentively regarding him.
After a pause, " All 's not lost yet, Redmond,"
he said, " if you folly the biddin* I gave you."
The young man remained silent.
Cushneiche continued in an angry and bitter
tone — " D'you hear me, man, with your black
TOL. III. n
266 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
mop of a head doin' nothin' there, on your two
big claws o' hands ? Will you rouse yourself,
I say, while there's a minute left for the word
that 's to save or bang us all ? Give an ear, I
tell you, to the ould attorney an' to me, that has
the right to command you, in this purty pickle,
at laste, an* you can yet save yourself, an' us
that you brought here along with you ;— if you
Bet him at his best, an 9 that he has nothin' for
it but to take care of himself, are you sich an
ownshuck as to think he'll let us out o' this
little cage to go to law with him ? Gallows
end to the heed the boy takes o' me. — Shake
yourself, I bid you again!" continued Cush-
neiche, smartly slapping him on the shoulder.
Redmond leaped up. • ■ , .
"Do not touch me!" he cried — "let us die
without a touch, as we have lived. And you
talk to me of life, after this ? of an estate, and
wealth, and rank, and a marriage ? And you
suppose— but yes, y&u can suppose it."
" Suppose what ?" asked Cushneiche, slowly
advancing to Redmond, his brows knitted, and
his glance earnestly fixed on the youth's open
bosom — " an* this," snatching at the locket,
that since his visit to Philip's old castle hung
round Redmond's neck—" this, along with it- —
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 267
what am I to suppose about this ? In the name
o* the blessed saints in heaven, where did you
get this, gorcoon ? Tell me the thruth, an 1
tell it in a word, for I hear the gaoler comin',
an' there 's only a breath left for life an 1 death,
an 1 for wondhers greater than life or death can
clear up — spake, I say f where did you get it ?
It 's the second time I axed you about a keep;
sake, an 1 the second manes mote than the first :
let me look closer at it" As he held the locket
at the length of the chain, Cushneiche, much
agitated, caught Up a candle and ri vetted his
eyes on the trinket: — « By the wide world it 's
the very one f Sam, come here and look at
this !" Sam rose indifferently from his observa-
tions at the window, but when he had gained
a glance at the article Cushneiche held out to
his inspection, his manner suddenly changed
into that of some wonder and interest "Do
you know it P" continued Cushneiche — "did
you ever see it afore ?
" Did I ever see any thing afore? wasn't it
my own hands that tuck it from him ?"
** Him ! who ?" — demanded Redmond, at
last rousing himself from the surprize and the
struggle of the thousand hopes and conjectures
that vaguely and darkly sprung up in his bo-
5268 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
som — " what do ye mean ? who was its owner ?
have I any concern with who or what he was ? n
" Answer us, before we answer you, man !"
continued Cushneiche, his impatience increasing
— " I hear the step in the passage — hell's fire !
why don't you say where you got it ?*
" Go, when you can, to one of the old castles
we passed this morning, by the river-side, and
there you will find the man in whose possession
I found it."
" Do you mane the man they call Padhre-
" Yes, and in the secret place I got this
trinket, there were other things that would,
perhaps, have more surprized you."
" What things ? spake ! quick, quick !"
" Pistols, a sea-dirk, a hoard of gold and
" That 's himself, Sam !" interrupted Cush-
neiche, slapping the table—" he 's to the fore,
" An' we thinkin' him well hanged these
score years," added Sam in a tone of deep won-
derment, as the gaoler unlocked the parlour-
" Now, Masther Cushneiche, an' now Mas-
ther Yallow Sam, every convaniency is ready,
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 269
wid our sarvice to you,'' said the man, advanc-
ing, followed by two sturdy helpers, each of
whom held a pair of bolts and handcuffs.
" Wait a moment," said Redmond, " only a
moment, good fellow ; I have to speak a parting
word with these men — "
" Never a moment ; an' never a word, Mas-
ther Redmond ; it's clane against the rule o' the
house; and more betoken, them an' you has
words enough already, an' too many, the neigh-
bours tell me, for your good — so quick wid the
mittins an' the spanshels, boys," to the turn-
keys, who seemed to require no stimulus in
expediting the work they had already taken
kindly in hand.
" Say whatever you have to say aloud, Cush-
neiche," cried Redmond, vehemently — ",one
word will be a relief to me — am I concerned in
this discovery ?"
" Boats'n," said Cushneiche, handing some-
thing to the gaoler, " you may 's well not re-
fuse me a pig's whisper with the poor young
gintleman" — and encouraged by the benevolent
grin with which the bribe was put up, he shuf-
fled in his bolts to Redmond, and said at his
ear — " vou 11 hear more of it an* me afore
there .'s much danger ; I don't value these bits
270 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
o' spanshells no more than a twist o' sthraw ; nor
Sam either ; we ever an' always go provided
agin them ; an' as for the ricketty ould cage
itself, a yexed linnet could peck his way out of
it — so hould a brave heart, ma-bouchel. When
you see Pratt, in the coorse o' the day, jest be
said an' led by him, if it was only to throw
dust in his eyes, now" — laying peculiar em-
phasis on the last word : " an' so, God speed
you !— I can say no more till we meet again."
He turned away — " Thankee, boats'n, an* here
we go for your other convaniencies." Before
Redmond could urge a word, he was locked up,
alone, in the parlour.
To prevent, perhaps, disagreeable interrup-
tion in another place, it shall here be noticed
how far Cushneiche was able to keep some of
the promises he had held out to Redmond at
About three o'clock, the same day, the gaol-
er's wife went out into the garden to cut a few
cabbages, as an accompaniment to the piece of
corned beef, which for some time had been sim-
mering on the kitchen fire ; and all good Irish
cooks are aware, that it should have been so
simmering for some time before the vegetables
were put in to boil along with it. .The garden
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 271
lay outside the high bounding wall of the gaol,
enclosed by its own lower walls. A capacious
sewer, running under the gaol-yard, and under
the foundations of the gaol wall, passed beneath
it : but of this the good woman was not aware.
Waddling between two rows of her flourishing
cabbages, picking her steps through the over
moist soil, and having her garments tucked and
pinned up to save them from the heavy drops
she brushed down at every step, the unsuspect-
ing gouvernante had already decapitated two
plump heads of " early Dutch," when, fixing
her eye upon a third, just at her feet, she
thought it moved. Startled, she drew back a
little, keeping her glance on the charmed head
of cabbage; became convinced it was self-agi-
tated, and grew stupified with fright; but her
consternation did not gain a climax until it ac-
tually jumped about the trench, and until ano-
ther head, of a different kind, popped up into
its place, and, the mouth sputtering forth clay,
opened its keen grey eyes and fixed them upon
hers. Without power to utter a cry significant
of her alarm, the terrified dame dropped senseless
where she stood, her heavy fall and considerable
bulk of person doing some injury among the
much-prized vegetables around her ; and it was
272 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
only when her husband, growing impatient for
his dinner, and finding the beef left boiling
away in the pot, came out to look after her,
that she recovered in his arms, and could
vent her heart in hysteric screams, accompa-
nied by a few incoherent words of explanation.
Those few words were sufficient, however, to
indicate to the old man-trap keeper the real
cause of her fright. Leaving her, with a mut-
tered curse, to take care of herself, he hasten-
ed back to bis citadel, descended to the dun-
geon, in which his own hand had locked up
Cushneiche and Yellow Sam, and found it
empty ; and pieces of broken plaster, scattered
under the lowest part of the low garden wall,
afterwards assured him that during his wife's
swoon the fugitives had not remained forget-
ful of the completion of their purpose.
" The little saws an* the files that cut them
boults," soliloquised the sad and discomfited
gaoler, as he contemplated the articles he spoke
of, on the floor of the cell — " war hid in the
soles o' the brogues the raps had on 'em ; for we
sarched all over their bodies well, not forget-
ting a peep into the brogues themselves; and
here/' he continued, when he returned to the
garden wall — " here 's the spot where the two
ould mast-climbers got over, in no time."
PETEE OF XHE CASTLE. 278
About half an hour after Redmond had been
left alofie in the parlour, the proprietor returned
to conduct him to his more regular quarters.
Whether influenced by Lieutenant Noble's re-
quest, or by his own feelings, the man did not
doom his young prisoner to such a cell as had
been allotted to Cushneiche and Yellow Sam.
He introduced him, in fact, into the debtors'
region of the prison, and with much self-flatter-
ing eulogy of the comforts and respectability of
the place, locked up Redmond in a low arched
apartment, eight or nine feet square, and hav-
ing a rough deal table and a ricketty chair, for
its only furniture.
Again the young maaflung himself into a chair
by the table, and hid his face on his hands. It
cannot be said that he thought ; the confusion
of his mind did not allow of a process meriting
274 PETE* OF THE CA8TLE.
the name ; still all the poignant, and, indeed,
wonderful views his situation presented, came
in succession before him. It had been proved
that he was the son of a mean and disgraced
person, and all his hopes of life — life itself, were
henceforth annihilated. They spoke to him of
wealth to be obtained by accommodating himself
to circumstances, and by a prudent plan of con.
cealment; he trampled on that prospect. He
would not accept existence on such terms. He
would seek death in every shape, far away from
Ireland, if, indeed, the present charges against
him were not preferred to the death; and of
this, although he could not pause to balance
the reasons why,- he felt doubtful. Every thing
was lost to him; Rosalie too — and at this
thought it will not .seem surprising if, at his age,
he suffered to escape him the. sorest groan, his
reveries had called forth.
What were the nature of the vague promises
Cushneiche had held out to him at parting ?—
what caused him to hold them out ? what meant
the robber's agitation at the sight of the locket ?
That was the real question. Had the trinket
called up recurrences in which he was personally
concerned ? or — and Redmond here brought to
mind the comment of Yellow Sam upon the sup*
PETJ4K OF THE CASTLE. 275
posed fate of its original owner — had it merely
reminded the freebooters of a comrade whom
tbej had thought dead, and dead in shame and
infamy P — Redmond started at the sudden asso-
ciation his disarranged mind had not before per-
fectly made, — Peter of the Castle was that
former comrade. The hidden hoard, the wea-
pons, confirmed this notion, even if Cushneiche's
assertion could be doubted. And the mystery
of Padhre's long life of seclusion and penance
was now explained ; he had been overtaken by
remorse iu the midst of his sinful careex, sub-
mitted himself to the expiations prescribed by
his church — perhaps added to them, himself—
and withdrawn from the world, under a changed
name, to make his peace with God. But how
did all this concern Jiedmond ? For the hun-
dredth time he held up the locket, and pored
over the initials A. P. which were set in pearl
and brilliants upon one side of it ; they sug.-
gested no name of which he had ever heard ;
they could not relate to him ; they indicated,
perhaps, the name of some female to whom the
hermit-robber had been attached in his youth ;
he let the trinket drop out of his hand with
indifference. Yet Pad h re's uniform interest in
him again occurred to tantalize Redmond's
276 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
mind; their last interview, too, and the other
appointed interview for which the day was now
near at hand : he wished he could once more
see Padhre ; he wished he could keep that ap-
pointment ; he would inform him of the proof
of his parentage, so lately confirmed ; perhaps
the step might lead to something, he knew not
what; and Redmond groaned, and his brow
flamed, as he ended in the conjecture that Pa-
dhre's interest had only grown out of his having
recognized him to be the son of the wretched
man who now claimed him — the solitary's for-
mer partner in crime.
This started another supposed case : Padhre
had early learned from Cushneiche himself, the
secret of Redmonds connexion with Pratt ; and,
to avoid exposure of the character of his miser-
able parent, arid, indeed, of all the strange cir-
cumstances Pratt had confessed, the hermit ad-
vised his union with Pratt's daughter. — " Poor
Ellen," sighed Redmond, as, for the first time,
his mind calmly contemplated her in the view in
which Padhre's assurances, and, afterwards, her
father's own story, had placed her. Did she
really love him as was said ? Love him to the
injury of her happiness and life ? And must he
blame his own attentions for her feelings ? His
PETER OP THE CASTLE. 277
heart softened a little. Rosalie was lost for ever;
he could not love Ellen as he loved Rosalie, or
as Ellen loved him ; but, every other motive
and consideration apart, did not honour and
humanity call on him to No, no ! lie would
not disgrace her, even to make her momentarily
happy. Were his name and descent honour-
able, he might, after a time, passively sacrifice
his life to savie or cheer hers ; but she would
not continue to love the son of an outlaw ; and
he particularly shrunk from the subject, when
he considered the alliance as one of prudence
on his part ; as one that would ensure to him,
without further exposure, the wealth his ban-
dit-father had amassed, and of which, come what
might, he determined never to share as much as
would give him an hour's sustenance.
His prison-door was unlocked, and Mr. Fe-
nelly, the old Roman Catholic clergyman, ap-
proached him. Redmond felt offended at an
intrusion he thought could have been prompted
by mere idle curiosity ; in a sullen mood, arose,*
and after a slight bow, walked to the window.
- * You think I have no right to visit you, my
good young man," began the priest ; " but I
think I have. You know I am intimately ac-
quainted with a lady you are interested about/'
278 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
Redmond turned abruptly and looked his
" I mean Miss D'Arnell, Sir ; you are aware
that, being of my persuasion, and I being an
old man, our friendship is particular. WeU,
I come to speak a word to you from Miss D'Ar-
Redmond started to the only chair in the
apartment, and placed it near the priest.
" You threw yourself in her way last night,
as she was riding home," continued Mr. Fe-
nelly, " and, shocked her much with the confir-
mation from your own lips, of a shocking story;
and you added some allusions, and some ac-
count of your feelings and actions, to which she
could not reply at the time. But now she sends
by me a return to the long farewell you made
her, and is anxious to have me say, that, al-
though you and she can never meet again,, she
shall be deeply afflicted, as a former friend, to
hear any accounts of your conduct in the present
trying circumstances which may appear un-
worthy of the mind and heart you inherited
from the Giver of all good, and improved under
liberal habits of education."
" I am thankful to the lady, Sir, for the com-
PETEE OF THE CASTLE. £79
pliment and for the good advice, and also for the
doubt the good advice involves"
" Make your own comments. But now, per-
haps, you will kindly allow me to express my
own sincere regrets for your sufferings, and a
few of my own views in your regard: — pray
hear me out In this second instance, I am not
48o very officious as you may think, either.
However strange it may sound, I am rather
intimately concerned in all that concerns you.
I can influence your fate. Do not stare at me,
young man, in doubt or wonder ; I speak the
words of truth ; and, if you live, you shall wit-
ness that I do."
u Go on, Sir. How can all this be ? You
owe me an explanation, and in justice, honour,
mercy, will give it at a word."
*' Justice, honour, mercy, supply the precise
reasons why I must not. Again I request you
not to be impatient with an old man that really
means you well, and deals in no juggling talk
or tricks. Indeed, it was no part of my duty to
have said even so much to you before; and so
much you would never have heard from me, but
for your present unexpected situation. But be-
lieve me still in what I say. I have a great deal to
do with you; and from a full knowledge of your
280 PETE* OF THE CASTLE.
prospects, I have a right to advise any step I
may think for the best. Therefore, attend to
me. You have won the affections of a most
amiable young person ; her happiness is in your
hands. Her father, I can learn, is not averse to
the idea of your making her your wife ; your
honour whispers that you should ; your interests,
your safety command it. I, who am a judge of
your interests, feel convinced you should not
hesitate ; and, in fact, a greater question than
any stated, than any you are yet aware of, a
question connected with the lives and the good
name of others — hangs upon your decision. —
The clergyman had moved to the door as he
spoke the last words. " Think me no juggler,
I repeat, and do not hastily reject my advice. 9 '
Redmond stood overwhelmed with surprise.
Here was a new actor in the embarrassed scene
he could not have dreamt of. Here was another
individual linked with his fate — if, indeed, the
priest's solemn assertions were true — between
whom and himself no kind of connection had
seemed possible. And here was this new-
found friend recommending, along with all for-
mer ones, a certain measure. He appeared to
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 281
dream. His real existence appeared to have
changed into something imaginary. These were
not the every rday chances . of life ; perplexing
'mystery surrounded him. But a recollection of
one part of the priest's discourse aroused him
to a bitter sense of reality. It was the message
from Miss D'Arnell. Well ! they were separated
for ever ; and the lady lost no time in confirming
the fact. His proud nature boiled hjgh. For-
getting all the good reasons that, at another
time, he would have allowed, nay, that he had
bimself submitted to her for her resolution, he
could only feel he had been slightly treated;
and he would show less of disappointment than,
perhaps, was reckoned on ; — and here Ellen
again strongly occurred, but merely as a me-
dium of revenge upon Rosalie.
Before he could farther proceed with his per-
plexed reveries, the door again opened, and Mr.
Pratt came into the room, looking sad and care-
worn. Redmond's notice of him was strange ; he
did not know in what manner to return his sa-
" I have staid away too long, Redmond," the
gentleman began, (it was now past three o'clock
in the afternoon,) " but I could not help it. Ellen
was to have been quieted, the magistrates spoken
282 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
with regarding the committals ; and, above all,
that intemperate and ungrateful fellow, Cotte-
ril, brought to task. But I am sorry to inform
you, I seem to possess little influence over him
in this serious matter. He persists in his deter-
mination to prosecute."
« Weil, be it so."
" God forbid we should dismiss the subject
so indifferently. God forbid I, at least, was so
unnatural as to do so ! For, Redmond, apart
from my sincere and unchanged good-will to
you, a father's feelings give me an interest, an
absorbing interest in it. Should any real evil
Happen to you, my child— I must speak out,
Redmond, though it appear indelicate — my be-
loved child would not survive the blow."
" I do not understand you, Sir."
" Redmond, I am forced to be explicit.
This moment, though she knows nothing of
your present perilous situation, Ellen's fears on
account erf your absence are sinking her into
the grave. The love, the infatuation with
which you have inspired her, could not remain
hidden from a parent's eyes. And you know
her tender constitution, you know — "
" Mr. Pratt, do not utterlv distress me. I '
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 283
was, until your astonishing assertions, quite ig-
norant of the great honour Ellen did me. I do
not require to be now appealed to on the sub-
ject ; its bare mention by you is sufficient for
" Well, then, Redmond, hear what I have
to say. Although Cotteril is obstinate, and
although it will cost me a great and peculiar
effort and sacrifice to turn him from his course;
yet, give me a competent motive and I will
venture far to do it I cannot now explain the
nature of the important steps that will here be
necessary ; another time you shall know of
them ; enough for me that I feel them to be
important, and not to be taken except as a last
resource; and enough for you that I repeat,
supply me with the natural motive, and they
shall be taken.
" Allow me to be as explicit as you are, Mr
Pratt. Supposing me to estimate as I ought,
as any man ought, the honour your most amia-
ble child confers on me; can I, consistent with
manliness or fair-dealing, ask her to share the
darkened lot that, no matter how long I live,
must be mine ?"
" She would share any lot with you, any
384 PETER OP THE CASTLE.
that awaits you ; although, unless you provoke
it by your own obstinacy, Redmond, I see none
she can consider questionable."
" Does that intimate, sir, that Ellen may be-
come my wife unaware of the disgrace of the
recent discovery to which you are a witness ?™
" No, she is fully aware of the discovery you
mean, only Ellen thinks it no disgrace to you. 11
This was assertion merely ; Mr. Pratt had kept
his daughter ignorant of all connected with
Redmond, from the moment he left the house.
" On the contrary, Redmond, she thinks, and
truly thinks, that, passing by your unhappy
father, I should be more disgraced by a public
exposure of the details of the whole matter,
than you can be. But there, for all our sakes,
is the thing to be avoided. Look closer at the
facts. If your father is prosecuted by your
side, he will, in revenge or self-defence, expose
the connexion between you and him, while
making his accusations against me."
" My God, my God ! rt groaned Redmond.
" Although such accusations cannot save
him — save his life — Redmond, nor alas >"
" My life. Speak on, without considering
" Nor hers who "
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 285
" It does not require argument, I repeat,
But, although indifferent to your own fate,
and leaving Ellen's out of the question, surely,
Redmond, the simple duty of snatching from a
shameful end, your own father " continued
Mr. Pratt, fully aware of the efficacy of press-
ing this point as often and as home as possible,
u surely . this alone will arouse you to some
" Mr. Pratt," demanded Redmond, abruptly
indulging an abrupt thought — u can you ima-
gine what motive sent the old priest, Mr.
Fenelly, to me this morning ?"
" He visited you this morning, then ?" in a
surprised tone; although the speaker was far
from being surprised, inasmuch as the visit
spoken of had arisen out of a conversation be-
tween him and Mr. Fenelly, early that morn-,
ing, when the clergyman called on Mr. Pratt to
be informed of the cause of Redmond's incar-
ceration, about which he felt greatly surprised
and interested ; and Mr. Pratt had absolutely
urged him to undertake the last topic we have
heard him press on the youth's notice.
Redmond satisfied Mr. Pratt's question ; and
when with much solemnity that gentleman as-
286 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
sured him he could not guess the priest's mo-
tive, the young man continued.
" Do not think, Sir, from my changing the
subject, that I am indifferent to the fate of even
such a parent as it has been the will of Heaven
to give me. If I have not alluded to his situa-
tion, it was because I dreaded to do so, not be-
cause I forgot it."
" Take him out of it, then, Redmond ; snatch
him from a fate that must expose and destroy
us all — free the wretched man of the irons that,
while we speak, fetter him.^— We again interrupt
Mr. Pratt to say that Cushneiche and Yellow
Sam had escaped before he came to the gaol ;
' that he had heard as much ; but that the per-
sons around Redmond had received his strict
injunctions not to inform the youth of the fact.
" Come, Redmond ; rise up, and come with me,
and all will be well;— why can you hesitate a
moment to be led by one whose happiness and
honour are bound up in yours ? Alas ! why did
you ever hesitate to do so ? There began all our
present troubles. You have not, you never
had, Redmond, a cause to feel distrustful of me.
If I suppressed the facts of your real parentage,
what but a feeling for your future peace and
respectability prompted me ? Now that, at your
PETEE OF THE CASTLE. 287
own seeking, you know them, were it not better
they had remained unknown ? And look at my
whole conduct towards you ; look at my care of
you in school and college. Redmond, I do not
attempt to deny that my penury, at the time
I became only the agent to your great estate,
suggested griping and dishonest thoughts ; for
the toiling and needy, wealth has sore tempt-
ations; and no doubt, so far as your un-
happy parent was concerned, I sinfully in-
dulged hopes and calculations unworthy of a
Christian ; but human nature is weak, Red-
mond. Perhaps, with my strong suspicions of
the character of that man, and with the voice of
the law and of justice rising up on my side
against him, some extenuation may be allowed
to my conduct ; — leaving it quite inexcusable,
however, how has a single act or view of my life,
for twenty years, injured you, Redmond ? I
educated you as a gentleman. I treated you as
one, From the hour my child was born, I des-
tined you to possess every acre of the property ;
when you left the house, I had not given up my
intention ; it forms, at this moment, the great
wish of my heart; come home with me, Red-
mond ; — come to your own home ; — possess it,
and enjoy it; — assume the rank and character
PETER OF THE CASTLE.
your considerable means ensure to you ; — we can
so arrange, that the connection between you
and the prisoner in his dungeon, under us, shall
never be known ; — he is not disposed, I am sure,
to aggrieve you ; — if his life be now saved,
he will surely consent to live far awav from Ire-
land, on your bounty."
Redmond brought to mind, indeed, that
Cushneiche had more than once proposed these
very terms. — " The rumour that, above all
others, makes you my nephew, may remain un-
contradicted for ever ; and here, on your own
estate— — v
" Mr. Pratt," interrupted Redmond, " to
part of your plan my mind is irrevocably averse.
If, indeed, I am honoured, so far as you say,
by the good opinion of your excellent daugh-
ter, she and I shall never remain here to ex-
pose ourselves even to the chance of disgrace.
Some other country must be our future home.
And further, the wealth you speak of as mine,
I shall never accept ; enough that the blood of
a common bandit runs in my veins; 1 shall
never live and fatten upon his plunder ; — oh,
God ! perhaps upon the product of orphans' and
widows' tears, and the blood of my fellow-crea-
tures. No, Sir ; I am young, and the world is
PETER OP THE CASTLE. 289
open to me, as it has been to other men. I will
go home with you on these terms, and on no
" Well ; come home, with any exceptions
;to the future that your present distressed feel-
ings naturally take, dear Redmond. I cannot
wonder to hear you utter some little vehe-
mence and extravagance ; pardon ' me, and do
not interrupt me : reflection and time may cause
material changes of opinion. Give me your
hand, and let me congratulate you on a new ancl
closer tie betwixt us, and at the same moment,
on your liberation from this place. If I solemni-
ty pledge myself as security for your immedi-
ate removal, the people here will at once let you
come, until I can take my last measures with
Cotteril, and again see the magistrates. Let. us
hasten home, and conclude our private arrange-
ments this very evening. Marriage articles will
take little time to prepare, and less in the sign-
ing. Come, my carriage is outside. To-mor-
row morning we shall come back together, and
free the other prisoners."
He knocked at the door of the apartment.
The gaoler appeared. He declared himself re-
sponsible, as he had said he would do, for tak-
ing Redmond away; and in a few minutes they
VOL. III. o
890 PBTKR OT THE CA6TLX.
were seated together in Mr. Pratt's carriage,
and driven rapidly out of the town.
" Well," thought Redmond, " my course is
begun, wherever it may lead ; my fate known
for the present, however it may become fixed ;
and shattered and darkened as is my mind,
one little ray of gratification breaks in with the
hope that even by sacrificing myself, unknown
to her, I may promote the happiness of one of
the gentlest of God's creatures. It will, indeed,
be but a gloomy relief; for my own heart there
is no hope of fire-side joy. It must brood over
the past till it stupifies or breaks."
Mr. Pratt had his reverie, too. " No wiser
saying than that which teaches a man to be
watchful of circumstances and to accommodate
himself to them. If the torrent cannot be cross-
ed in a bold straight line, some little swimming
with its stream may land one safely at the
opposite side. Assuredly, the greater part of
wisdom is coolness when others are hot; in fact,
fools make sages. Yet, in my present success,
caution and temporising alone have not won the
battle. I have been powerfully assisted by
chance — say .my usual good fortune ; and in a
way, too, that while I took my advantage of
it, I did not, then, and cannot yet under-
PETF.fi, OF THE CASTLE. 291
stand. But no matter about that mystery
now; a time will come for unravelling it at
The time was nearer at hand than he
Uttle conversation ensued between the gen-
tlemen on the road homeward. Mr. Pratt's
remarks were confined to anticipations of the
joy and relief their safe return would give
Ellen. They gained that point of the road
approaching the hill, which led down to the
village, and which commanded to their right
hand,jtnd under them, a view of the banks
of the river, and the group of old castles.
At sight of the ruins, from the carriage win-
dow, Redmond bethought of his late wish
to have a last interview with Padhre; and
now, even supposing him not to meet the so-
litary at home, he determined— if for no other
purpose than to replace the locket, — upon leav-
ing the carriage awhile, and walking down the
descents to the water. When he signified his
ihtentifcn, Mr. Pratt looked surprised, if not
suspicious of, perhaps, an attempt to escape,
and desired to know Redmond's business with
Padhre. His companion gave some slight
reason, but would not be denied; Mr. Pratt
292 PETEE OF THE CASTLE.
could keep him in view and wait in the carriage
for him, he said ; and he got out and bent his
way down to the river side.
Approaching the ruins, he saw Padhre's two
old attendants hobbling, at a considerable dis-
tance, along the water's edge ; Padhre himself
was not with them or before them, but he might
have walked out of view. Redmond gained his
castle, and his cell-door. The bundle of hav
filled the outer archway ; he pushed it in, en-
tered, and Padhre's wailing " oh — h, oh — h,"
sounded in his ear.
Looking round, he saw him stretched, un-
dressed, upon his humble couch, appearing,
from the listless way he lay, and from the un-
usual paleness of his cheek and brow, to be ex-
hausted with sickness. His voice, too, as he
gave his complaining challenge, sounded feeble
" I have returned to see you, Padhre," Red-
mond began, sitting on the deal box, " before
the time you named, because I thought you 'd
be glad to hear I was going to do your bid-
ding at last." Padhre ceased his cry, as if
attentively listening. t€ Yes, Padhre, I have
lost for ever her whose smile was the only
one that can ever cheer my young life, and
I am about to unite myself to another wo-
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 293
man, who, although worthy of any man's
love, I can never love, and whose soft and un-
suspecting affection for me, must, till I die
and God send that may be soon, only bring
endless tears from my eyes and heart."
Redmond's own voice now faltered ; Padhre
held up his hands, as if to bless and thank his
protege, and afterwards made signs to the effect
that his sad forebodings were imaginary, and
that all happiness would attend his choice.
" No, no, good friend ; and if ever you had
felt a true love, you could not think it, 1 ' con-
tinued Redmond ; " if ever you had felt the
promise made, morning and night, to your heart
in a younger day, that only one other heart
alone could bring it joy and contentment, that
only one eye could bless it with a smile, and
only one hand confer a pledge worth the taking
— and, oh, Padhre ! if, after this, you had
ever seen that heart darkened to you, that eye
clouded, that hand drawn back and kept for
another, you would feel with me how hopeless a
thing it is, in the first breaking of youth, to — n
Tears, the vent of his blacker feelings of the
previous night, stopped Redmond, and he could
perceive that the poor listener wept too, turn-
ing on his couch to hide a bitter agitation ; and
as the young man recollected the little locket
294r PETER OF THE CASTLE.
and the tress of shining black hair, his heart
smote him with the notion of his having placed
before Padhre, in his suppositious case, a true
picture of the wretch's former experience and
u And I came to tell you another story, Pad-
hre," continued Redmond, after a short pause ;
" you know I have been bred up without a fa-
ther, or the knowledge of one ; but I came to
tell you I have at last found out my father."
The hermit, forgetting the physical depression
that had evidently weighed him down, started
up on his elbow, and looked wildly at Red-
, §€ Yes, old friend ; last night my father's
claim to me was proved ; and a robber is that
" They lie that brought you the story !" ex-
claimed Padhre, in a tone so deep and loud
that^the old ruin echoed to it : and as he spoke,
completely shaking off the sickness of his body,
he sprang to his feet with such a stern energy,
and showed a bearing so lofty and grand, that,
recollecting the long silence of his life, and the
former quietness and humility of his air, Red-
mond was also startled to his feet.
" Who blinded you with that fable, boy ? n
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 295
continued Padhre, as they confronted each
other. " Answer me, in a word, that I may
confound them! — I break an awful vow for
this ;" he went on, dropping on his knees ; —
" but, oh! good and merciful God ! — thou wit-
nesseth how suddenly it has taken me, and how
great is the temptation to loose my tongue at
last in a communion with my fellow-creatures !
No presumption, no thought of worthiness, no
forgetfulness of my sin prompts the disobedi-
ence — the hope to do good — to right the wrong-
ed — to speak the truth, that innocence may be
' shielded, and the enemies of truth defeated ; —
this alone is my motive !" he bent his head on
his breast. Redmond looked and listened in
consternation, not wholly unmixed with joyful
hope. Although the hermit's tones were loud
and intense, his pronunciation was thickened and
imperfect, as if a long disuse of the powers and
mechanism of the tongue had impaired its faci-
lity. Redmond thought it was as if a dead man
had been restored to speech, and with his clayey
and frozen lips suddenly and lamely attempted
the language of a former existence. These
fancies confused him. The vehement denial of
the story of his parentage supplied the relief to
296 PKTEE OF THE CASTLE.
Padhre's mental prayers were ended, and he
arose, less agitated, and resumed.
" Do not. stand silent, young man, when at
last you ought to speak to the purpose. Who
imposed the story on you ?" '
" My guardian, and the man who called
himself my father."
" Pratt ? what could have been his reason ?"
(musing) " no matter ; a bad one, whatever it
was ; and one that deprives him, perhaps, of the
chance he hitherto had of an alliance with you.
And who is the man that acted with him ?"
" They certainly did not act together ; on
the contrary, it was by violence, and to save his
life, that Pratt confirmed in my hearing all the
facts the other had previously told me."
" Let it be so — but tell me who is that other."
" The robber, Cushneiche ; you must have
heard of him, and seen him." .
Padhre appeared astonished to the utmost as
he said — t( yes — I have heard of him, but we
never met — where is he, now ? can you inform
" He has spent much of his early life at sea,
I understand," said Redmond, first making a
remark suggested by sudden associations, and
waiting to note its effect.
PETKK OF THE CASTLE. 297
" Ay, say you so P M in increased interest ;
" how old is this man ? what is his height ?
what his style of features ?"
Redmond gave an accurate description. Pad-
hre listened anxiously.
" Then where can he be found, I say ?"
" In the gaol of , whence I have this
moment escaped, only on conditions of entering
into the alliance with Pratt, to which you just
" Leave me," continued Padhre, after ano-
ther moment of reflection — " I will see this man
in his dungeon, and he shall recant the false-
hoods he has told you ; and if, by his means,
Pratt now wishes to compel you into the mea-
sure your declarations and your youthful tears
of this evening convince me you dislike, he shall
stand before Pratt, in a few hours, to disclaim
any such agency ; — lie or I can send another.
Farewell. 1 am ill and weak, 1 ' he continued,
placing one hand on his forehead, and the other
on his heart. " Since we last met I have been
sorely visited with, I hope, the final warning,
but Heaven will allow me breath and strength
for this, and you may rely on my endeavours."
" Sir, 1 ' said Redmond, unconsciously using
the term of respect and awe with which he
298 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
now began to regard his companion ; " this
very evening I have agreed to sign the articles
" And do I not promise you help this very
evening ? n
" Am I then to understand that I must not
sign until that help comes ?"
A noise as of one entering the castle was
heard, and Mr. Pratt's voice called on Red-
" Farewell, I say — he comes to summon you ;
and, as you value your interest, do not stay here
to let him hear us speaking together — away,
and meet him on the stairs ; but," he added, in
a low whisper, " do nothing in a hurry, now."
Redmond bounded along the dangerous shelf,
that, forming almost two sides of a square, led
from Peter's recess to the point communicating
with the stairs. Answering with earnest apokv
gies Mr. Pratt's remonstrances for delay, both hur-
ried out of the ruin, gained the carriage, and,
soon after, Mr. Pratt's house.
" I must leave you alone, here, Redmond,"
said Mr. Pratt, when they entered a room, " for
a little time. First, I have to see Cotteril, and
use with him the last argument for your safety,
of the nature of which I may as well now ac-
PETER OF THE CAS TLB. 299
quaint you. Although from, some cause I can-
not exactly define, but, perhaps, from your
darkness to him, he dislikes you, Redmond, yet
Cotteril is alive to my interests, and, above all,
adores his young lady. I will tell him, then,
waiving all nice feelings, that her happiness, per-
haps her life, depends on yours ; and that, I
know, will at once influence him."
" 'Tis, indeed, a disagreeable and shocking
resource, Sir, considering the connexion between
master and servant, and that a lady's secret is
€t Did I not say it was ? Do you not recol-
lect my first words on the subject? But, how-
ever repulsive, the thing must be done. And
next, Redmond, you will have to wait until I
inform Ellen of your intentions with respect td
her. v I suppose you think it as well that I
should be your advocate ?"
" Certainly, Mr. Pratt," answered Redmond,
eagerly catching at a proposal that seemed cal-
culated to save, in a degree, his present peculiar
" Perhaps it would even be for the best, if,
saying in your name all the little matters usual
on such occasions, I did away with the necessity
of a formal explanation between you and her?"
300 PETEE OF THE CASTLE.
Redmond again warmly assented. Mr. Pratt
would say what he wished ; and by laying an
emphasis as he spoke, Redmond thought to ex-
tenuate to his own sense of honour and deli-
cacy, the disingenuousness he felt himself for-
ced to commit.
" Well then, Redmond, another word. If I
come to lead you by the hand to Ellen, you will
understand that she admits your suit; and,
when ye meet, you will promise me to spare
her the most remote allusion to any recent occur-
rences, of which the discussion might be too
strong for her feelings."
Redmond once more agreed, and Mr. Pratt
left him to prepare Ellen, in his own way, for
the coming scene.
He found her in her chamber, touching a
little harp, as she sang a mournful song, for
the words of which he stopped at her door to
" Oh ! when I pause, and think upon
My own green hills and pleasant river
Where I have blithely roving gone,
To shoot at will my fancy's quiver—
The hope of childhood in my breast,
Free of the chain that since has bound me,
The broad sun sinking in the west,
A : ~ »arth. and water laughing round me :
PETER OF THE CASTLE. SOI
'When in the silence of the night,
Such recollections swell my sorrow,
I start and loath the coming light
That brings with it no happy morrow ;
I wept not that my hopes should flee,
Forgetful of their fond beguiling,
But now I weep that health should be
As fickle as their foolish smiling !"
With a sigh that was speedily followed by a
smile, her father entered, before the last cadence
of the song was finished. She smiled in return
at his approach, but in such sort as sent no joy
to his heart.
" My pretty coquet," he began, sitting by
her side — " do you remember a promise I made
Ellen started, blushed, trembled ; but an-
swered " No !"
" What ! — nothing of a pledge to place a
certain person at your feet, within a given time?
— ancl now, suppose the time should even be
And in this strain Mr. Pratt continued, until,
according to his plans, he had prepared Ellen
to meet Redmond in an hour : and then he went
to complete other arrangements.
When the person of whom he spoke, sat down
in the apartment where his guardian had left
308 PKTEE OF THE CASTLE.
him, he bent his mind to consider all the views
of his extraordinary situation. But, more than
on any former occasion, he was incapacitated for
sober thought. Every recurrence to Padhre^s
promise to belie Cushneiche's and Pratt's story,
sent a rush of joy about his heart that be-
wildered him ; and every recurrence to his en-
gagement with Ellen made him flame with im-
patience, and, on account of his still counte-
nancing while he hoped to evade it, with shame
and some self-contempt. In the hope of being
rescued from the infamy of a near alliance with
a wretch, visions of Rosalie again flitted over his
mind, and tempted him into an ecstasy; — a
recollection that to realize these visions he must
now, no matter on what account, falsifv decla-
rations he had permitted Pratt to make to Ellen,
made him wring his hands in despair. More
than once he started up, to call out to Mr-
Pratt, and interrupt the interview between him
and his gentle daughter, which, each moment,
was involving him deeper; but a certain mis-
giving curbed him. After all, could he —
ought he — to place implicit reliance on Padhre's
vehement contradictions and incoherent pro-
mises ? — What warrant had he that they were
PETKR OF THE CASTLE. 803
not of a piece with the occasional insanity attri-
buted to the solitary, and of which some for-
mer intercourse between them had seemed to
supply certain proof ? — At last Redmond came
to a determination. He would avoid, as long as
possible, any act that could positively commit
him to a future course ; in fact, he would
reckon, as long as possible, on the interference
that had been vaguely promised ; but if it did
not appear at the time within which, every
thing considered, it ought naturally to appear,
Redmond made up his mind to take Padhre's
inconsistency as a demonstration of his madness,
and he would then no longer hesitate to save
poor Ellen's feelings, and, indeed, his own sense
of honour, from a chance of the discovery that
he was indifferent to her. If he could not
contrive to keep out of her presence, he resolv-
ed not to face her with a falsehood even upon
his brow, or in his manner ; if once they met,
he would bind himself to her for ever.
The evening drew on ; the room in which he
sat, deepened in shadow, and while Mr. Pratt
still stayed away, the hours and moments he had
allowed himself for a decision expired. At
last it grew so late that he gave up all hope,
804 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
and at the same time, embraced his conditional
alternative; and just as his mind 'came to a
point, his guardian entered the apartment.
Advancing slowly to Redmond, he held out
his hand in silence, and led him up stairs. Upon
the way, Mr. Pratt pressed his ward's hand,
but did not feel a return. They entered the
spacious and old fashioned drawing-room. It
seemed to have been hastily and imperfectly
lighted. Upon a table, at the remote end, there
was a single lamp, sufficient, however, to show
to Redmond's view a folded parchment Cot-
teril stood simpering by the table. In a win-
dow-recess, to the right-hand side, Ellen was
In continued silence Mr. Pratt led Redmond
almost the whole length of the room to salute
her. She tried to stand up as they came near,
but was obliged to drop in her chair agaLi,
trembling and weeping. Without uttering a
word, Redmond, not uninterested by her joy-
ful distress, her obvious devotion to him, her
weakness and her beauty, sat by her side, took
her hands in his, and pressed them tenderly to
Mr. Pratt had walked to the table, and stand-
ing sideways to the young pair, taken up the
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 806
parchment and employed himself in reading it.
Cotteril,' grinning and whispering, peered at it
over his shoulder. In a few minutes Redmond
heard his name softly pronounced by Mr. Pratt.
He arose from his silent interview with Ellen,
and repaired also to the table.
" Read it, dear Redmond," whispered his
guardian, presenting the instrument, u and first
see if you approve it ; then you can sign at
once : Cotterill will witness."
" I am sure there is no need, Sir," replied
Redmond, smiling a ghastly smile, — " it must
be all perfectly correct ; I will sign at once, if
Ducking and grinning, Cotteril began to
mend a pen. Mr. Pratt turned towards the end
of the apartment near the door ; and — " Aye,"
he thought, " no matter for the explanation of
the robber's motive ; no matter yet awhile ;
whatever tempted him to fabricate the story of
his connexion with this boy, it has served the
purpose ; the dread of exposure as the son of
such a man compels Redmond to make Ellen
his wife ; and I want no more at present to set
my heart at ease about the future. What is the
matter, below ?" interrupting his reverie, and
speaking aloud, as he walked to the door. Red-
306 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
mond had taken the pen. He started, and laid
A servant ran up stairs, in such speed that
he and his master came in contact at the open
door, and the man, glancing behind him, and
looking agitated, passed Mr. Pratt into the mid-
dle of the drawing-room.
-< Fellow, what is the matter, I ask ?" con-
tinued Mr. Pratt.
" There is a stranger below, Sir/' answered
the man, in a whisper.
" Well? — if it is not Cushneiche again, why
should a stranger cause this bustle P Show him
into the dining-room, and say I am engaged, but
will see him in a few minutes."
" His appearance is so uncommon, Sir — and
he takes no notiee of us, — but has walked into
all the rooms below, as if searching for you — and
'he will answer no questions, Sir, and speak no
word to us; — listen, Mr. Pratt! he walks up
" That step is not assumed — that is his foot,
indeed P muttered Pratt, as he drew backward
from the door. Redmond heard a heavy and
measured tread coming up to the drawing-
room ; and presently a tall and gaunt man,. ha-
KETSB OF THE CASTLE. SOT
bited in a foreign dress, paced one pace into the
apartment. His face, indistinct to Redmond
through the shadow which wrapt the far end of
the room, was very pale ; he wore mustachocs;
and, without frowning, his black eyes fell on
Pratt. After entering, he stopped, and remained
motionless as a statue. Redmond thrilled as he
gazed at the silent visitor. If the dead could,
after a long absence from earth, re-appear in
fleshy mould and wonted costume, the figure
might suggest supernatural terrors. There was
no sympathy in his eye with life, or with the
living. His features were fixed in the rest, as
well as in the hue of the grave ; his very dress
seemed colourless and blurred, as if with the
dust and the decay of ages. Some such doubts
of the nature of his guest appeared to assail Mr.
Pratt; for, as his distended eyes returned the
stare fastened upon them, he stooped low, press-
ing his clasped hands between his knees, and
the broken breathing that denotes an inward
shudder, was, in the deep silence, heard to es-
cape him. The stranger beckoned him forward.
He shrunk farther off. The mute command
was repeated, again and again, and he at last
obeyed it. The stranger stept back through the
308 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
door, and resumed his signals. Pratt, cring-
ing into himself, and yet, as if drawn by irre-
sistible force, while his eyes still dwelt on
the pale face of his summoner, gradually fol-
" Go not out with him, father F screamed
Ellen, and fell : — but at that instant Pratt had
crossed the threshold, and the door closed on
him and his visitor.
Redmond sprang to support the senseless
girl ; Cotteril had run to hide himself in the
deep recess of a window. As he held her in his
arms, the measured tread of the stranger sound-
ed up the staircase leading to the sleeping
apartments ; then Redmond heard it, overhead,
in Mr. Pratt's bed-chamber; then fainter, in
the inner closet ; and then it rested. After
some time, Mr. Pratt re-entered the drawing-
room, alone, holding some* legal deeds in his
hand ; advanced with a tottering step to Red-
mond ; put his left arm round Ellen ; with the
right held out the parchments to his ward ; and
when Redmond had taken them, waved his dis-
engaged hand to him, as he said—" Leave my
daughter to my own care; and to the only
protection she can now expect: these are the
documents that make you lord and master of
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 809
this house. We shall ask the shelter of its
roof from you only until she is able to make
After he had spoken, the stranger's foot went
from the door, where it would seem he had been
listening, and then down stairs, and out of the
310 PSTEJ& OF THE CA8TLE.
It is now necessary to explain what led to
the, closing incidents of the last chapter ; and
for this purpose we must go back, a little.
After Miss D'ArnelFs rencounter with Red-
mond, on her road home from Kitty Tobitfs
wedding, and after the message sent to him by
Mr. Fenelly, we trespass so far on the young
lady^s private and reserved feelings as to inti-
mate that she did not experience much peace of
mind. True, until the moment he was bidding
her an eternal farewell, Redmond had never
declared his passion, and she had never been
called on to institute an exact enquiry into the
state of her heart towards him. But they had
been for a whole year very good friends, to-
gether ; reading the same books, discussing the
same subjects, taking the same walks and rides;
and, when their eyes met, which was often,
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 311
seeing each other's opinions and feelings re-
sponded to a nicety in every glance. . And if,
along with all this, it be considered that Rosalie
D'Arnell was doomed, under the roof of her
sad and melancholy protector, to almost total
exclusion from the world ; and that Redmond
was at once the only young man she saw, and
the only cheerer of her solitude, the natural
presumption will appear to be that the old and
never-ending result must have gradually been
taking place between them. When, therefore,
it became necessary, in consequence of the
shocking disclosures regarding him, that she
should give up Redmond's society for ever,
Rosalie felt nothing less, however she might
try to disguise it to her own breast, than the
pangs of disappointed affection ; while the cir-
cumstances of the case added unusual poignan-
cy to her* sufferings.
But the young lady's pride and spirit helped
her to wage constant war against her softer
impressions. That her high aristocratic blood
should ever have throbbed in unison with the
degraded stream which, it was now proved, ran
through Redmond's veins, was a reflection
almost always sufficient to make her ashamed
of any gentle sentiments in his regard, and to
312 PETER OF THE CA8TLE.
leave, in her opinion, lofty, compassion as her
sole present feeling towards him. She had, too,
a duty to perform, which assisted her efforts to
forget. The Count O'Ruark, her unhappy
guardian, required and merited from her all the
attentions and all the little cheering tributes
of love and gratitude whichj a heart sincerely
feeling both could bestow. The gloom, the
bitterness, and the depression which, since they
had met, formed his character, now began more
than ever to predominate. His health grew
worse, and the weakened and shrinking body
allowed full tyranny to the mind. He remain-
ed locked up in his chamber oftener and longer
than usual, although, for years, solitary habits
had been confirmed to him ; and his groans,
his sighs, and his tears, that ever had a refer-
ence to the past, were more frequent to Rosa-
lie's ear, as she stole to his door to listen ; or to
her eye, upon the few occasions when he would
yield to her gentle tap, her intreaties, or her
light song, and allow her a moment's opportuni-
ty to sit by his side and console him.
After her last meeting with Redmond, Miss
D'Arnell had then a double motive in de-
voting herself to alleviate the sorrows of her
protector. During the whole morning and day
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 318
ahe repeatedly stole to his door, and by every
device tried to induce him to open it and
admit her. She described how fine the day
was, although a February day ; and how de-
serving of being honoured by a short trip half-
way down the avenue, (the extent of the Count's
walk, whenever he ventured abroad,) or at least
by a saunter in the garden. She brought her
guitar, and sitting on a little stool outside the
chamber, accompanied herself in all the songs
that used to soothe him ; but every wile proved
vain. At last, with a heavy and sincere sigh,
she told him she was ill and unhappy. This
soon brought him out; aud, faintly smiling
on the beautiful girl, her emaciated and feeble
guardian led her to the drawing-room.
"Now you must and shall take one little
stroll with me, down the avenue," continued
Rosalie, as, sitting by his side, every endeavour
to amuse him failed. He mournfully shook his
head in refusal.
" But there is a particular reason, 1 * she con-
tinued; "do you remember the last time we
took the same walk P ,%
" It was only yesterday, Rosalie.'"
" Well ; and do you remember the great old
dog that, as his ragged master passed the gate,
VOL. III. F
314 PETER OF THE CASTLB.
came prowling up the avenue, and showed such
a sudden liking for you ?"
The Count slightly remembered the dog, but
not his attentions, spoken of by Rosalie.
" I saw him, though, first stand to look at
you, and then he came limping after us, as we
walked back to the house, snuffing and smelling
as if he thought he could make you out : just
before you stepped into the hall, he did seem to
have made up his mind about you, and wagged
his spare tail and attempted to jump round you :
I feared he might prove troublesome, and so
threatened him away with my handkerchief.
After we came in, the servants tried to scold
him away: he was too aged to be beaten.
But now for the point of the story: — he
will not go away ; — he has made many requests
to be admitted at the hall door ; and, for all
that can be done, is resolved not to retire far-
ther from the house than the spot in the avenue
where he and you first met. The poor old brute
has slept out there last night, and is sitting
shivering in the cold there this moment ;— will
you come and ask him what he wants, or what
he knows about you ?"
With a faint interest, the Count inquired the
kind of dog he appeared to be. When Rosalie
had described him as a large dog, of the New-
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 815
foundland species, her companion's interest in-
creased ; and, after a moment's pause, he offered
Rosalie his arm and walked out with her.
At about the place mentioned by the young
lady the animal appeared, indeed, seated ; his
head and eyes turned* to the house. The mo-
ment the Count came down the hall steps he
stood up, and seemed to exert to the utmost his
dimmed eyesight, as if, according to Rosalie,
again trying to make him out They drew close,
and he crept, with a lowered neck and tail,
smelling all round him. After a little time, the
tail began to move ; and, finally, the old dog,
looking up stedfastly into the Count's face,
uttered low short barks, and cut some capers,
as lively as his great age, and perhaps his re-
maining doubts, permitted.
" There," said Rosalie; " he knows you
" It is very strange, Rosalie, — very agita-
ting indeed," answered the Count. " Twenty
years ago I had such a dog; but a dreadful
circumstance separated us, 1 half the world's dis-
tance from Ireland and how he has come here,
if, indeed, it is the same animal, I cannot,
without horrible misgivings, suppose. Down,
sir! down!" continued the Count, trembling
316 PETEE OF THE CASTLE.
with excitement, as the dog, growing more con-
vinced, attempted to jump upon him ;— " down,
Sancho, down !"
, At the sound of the name given him, and
while the Counts emaciated hand patted his
head, the dog seemed to arrive at full certainty,
and his yelpings and pranks evinced the ex-
cess of his joy. " Sancho, man !" continued the
Count, stretching out his hands, while tears
started to his eyes, " my poor Sancho, is it
" Wow, wow, wow-ou-ou !" answered Sancho,
plunging on the hands that had often fed him,
and fondling them, and licking them all over.
" If dogs can weep, he sheds tears himself,"
said Rosalie, while her own trickled fast.
" It is he — my old, old friend, Sancho," re-
sumed the Count, as, overcome by his weak feel-
ings, he knelt on one knee, and bent his head to
the delighted old brute, who thereupon greeted
his master's face as he had before greeted his
" And what brought you here, Sancho ?"
continued the Count; " where do you live?
and who is now your protector in old age ?*
Sancho cocked his ears at the inquiring tone
of the voice, looked into the speaker's eyes, and
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 317
then, whether or no he vaguely comprehended
the question, or that the action was a result of
his own sudden thought, gave an invitating
prance and bark ; trotted, in a serious business-
like way, towards the avenue gate ; stopped ;
looked back ; returned ; took the Count's skirt
in his mouth, and again moved off, conveying
as plainly as a sagacious dog can do it, " Come
with me, and you shall see."
The Count unconsciously advanced in his
steps. This was the moment that, in perfor-
mance of his promise to Redmond, Padhre was
on his way to visit Cushneiche in the gaol.
He now appeared striding rapidly by, when the
scene within attracted him. He stopped short,
looked in through the bars of the gate, and
whistled. Sancho started at the sound, and
ran to him in new demonstrations of joy. In
a few seconds he returned to the Count, and
again pulled his skirts, as if proposing an
introduction between him and the hermit. The
Count drew back in terror. Padhre, rivetting
his eyes upon him at about twenty yards dis-
tance, also fell back. Sancho ran to him again.
He thrust in his arm through the bars, seized
the dog by the neck, and in an appalling tone
318 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
" In the name of the blessed Trinity, call him
by his name !"
" Sancho!" screamed the Count. Padhre re-
plied in a piercing shriek, and disappeared
from the gate. The Count tottered and swung
round. The weak arms of Rosalie supported
u Who is that man ?" he gasped out : " have
you ever seen him before, Rosalie ? what is his
" He is a poor recluse, Sir, called Padhre of
the Castle, from his having inhabited one of the
little ruins by the river's side, nearly twenty
years, they say."
" Twenty years !" repeated the Count, and
lay senseless in her arms. Rosalie cried aloud ;
servants came out; and he was conveyed into
the house; Sancho, at Rosalie's desire, being
also taken care of.
When he recovered, the Count asked his gen-
tle attendant to get him a draught she would
find in his closet. She presented it ; he drank it,
and from its effects seemed to gain strength and
Energy. He then required to know if Rosalie
could refer him to any one who woidd be able
to give a satisfactory account of Padhre. She
rETEB OF THK CASTLE. 819
knew of no such person or persons, unless it
might be the two old men who constantly at-
tended upon him in the Castle, and during his
walks. The Count desired to be left alone; and,
in about an hour after the scene in the avenue,
she saw him, to her great surprise, issue from
the house, and, with an earnest step, through
the avenue gate.
He continued his way towards the ruins. As
he entered among them, the two old men, who
on this day had gone out to beg' without Pa-
dhre, he being too ill to leave the chance of a
necessity for their attendance, appeared coming
home by another path. Their figures and dress,
and their presence in the lonesome place, con-
vinced the visitor they were the persons he
sought, and he at once required at their hands
an account of who and what the hermit was.
" An' who is id that axes?* demanded
Daddy Clayton, in no better humour than
usual ; — u an' is this the way we Ve to be vexed
an' bothered, morning, noon, and night, by peo-
ple we know nothin* of, an* care less about,
comin' to bring us to an account in our own
place ? An' what knowledge duv they want to
get iv him that has nothin' to do wid the world,
820 PETEB OF THE CASTLE.
or wid the gentle or simple, or one that brathes
the breath o' life in the world, bud is in hands
that'll take care iv him to his dyiri* day ?"
u Saucy old man," said the Count;— but he
was immediately interrupted by the clamours of
both, returning his language with interest, and
screaming out to him to " lave their house atf
their place, an' take their heavy curse along wid
him." He believed them to be mad, and, as a
last resource, flung down a heavy purse, renew-
ing his requests. Daddy Clayton precipitated
himself on the largess and crooked it up, but
gave no return, contenting himself with still
commanding the visitor to retire instantly. His
companion, however, moved, perhaps, as well
by the Count's appearance, and the great inte-
rest he, showed in his inquiries, as by his boun-
ty, drew near and whispered—" Ax your ques-
tions iv the priest, Father Fenelly : we know no
more nor you do ; but he knows all — for it's in
his hands Padhre is, an' it 's he hirM us to
watch him, mornia', noon, an' night, afther the
time we dhragged him from the river, when he
wanted to lie in id."
The Count knew where Mr. Fenelly lived,
and, acting on this advice, immediately walked
towards his house. It was but a short distance
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 391
from the. ruins. About halfway, the person he
was speeding to seek approached him. They
met in mutual agitation, and fixed their looks on
" I was about to visit you, Sir/' began the
Count; " I had an inquiry to make, which,
I am told, you can answer — only one ques-
tion. Do you know a person they call Padhre-
" I expected your question, Count. I do
know the man. I have known him these twenty
years, since his first coming to this country.*'
" Who is he ? what is his real name, Sir ? —
do you know that ?"
" I do; — but, although your agitation seems
sufficient for certainty, allow me a question
which must be solved before your own : what is
your reason for these inquiries ?"
u I have just seen him — about an hour ago—
for the first time, here-r— and I believe I have
seen in him a brother — a wretched brother !"
" And when he saw you, at the same time,
he was as certain of the connexion ; for he came
to me and said so ; but one other question, if you
please : the name you bear is no more your real
name than that by which he is known? am I
883 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
" You are ; — my true name is M'Carty.'
" Then* Count, you have indeed beheld, af-
ter his contrition and sufferings of twenty long
years, your unfortunate brother, Collum.*
The priest extended his arm to support his
friend in the increased agitation this solemn con-
firmation brought on.
" Wonderful heaven ! wretched Collum !
praise to the double mercy that would not permit
his crime, and yet that wrought upon his heart
to repent and offer up a life's atonement for the
intention to perpetrate it ! and praise, ten thou-
sand praises to the goodness that leaves us both
alive so long, that, after his twenty years of
misery, I may console his torn heart by a bro-
ther's forgiveness ! oh, wonderful ! and perhaps,
good God ! perhaps the child too — my boy !—
perhaps — " /
" He lives, Sir," said the priest ; " and Collum
is this moment employed in a business that puts
him in possession of an estate purchased for
him with the treasure honourably amassed by
his father ."
" My boy, Mr. Fenelly ! do you talk of my
boy ? and am I a father yet ? v
" You are, Sir, the happy father of a youth,
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 823
who, in heart and mind, is an honour to his fa-
ther ; and though, to this hour, Redmond does
not. know his poor uncle, Collum has known
him, and watched him closely, since a few
months after the day he brought him here, an
u Redmond, you say ? what Redmond ? can
you mean the lad that, shortly after I settled in
Ireland, helped to save my life, and, until a few
days back, visited at my house ?"
" The same."
" Great Providence ! but what mystery is
this ? I heard a report of the parentage of that
youth, which, because I suspected him of atten-
tions to my ward, made it imperative in me to
decline his visits*: what caused the report ? can
you say, Mr. Fenelly ?"
" Perhaps I cannot tell what first gave rise
to it; but of its existence, at present, I be-
lieve I can give you some account ; not here,
however : let us walk towards the old castles.
I was proceeding thither to await the re-
turn of your brother from the business which
now engages him. Come, Sir ; I perceive the
two old warders I have placed over him issuing
forth, in quest of their charge, I suppose;
324 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
though, were they to meet him now, it is doubt-
ful if they should know him; so we shall be
undisturbed by their garrulity. Come, Sir : but
you tremble and draw back ; — perhaps you do
not wish to see Collum this evening ?"
" I do, Mr. Fenelly, I do ; my heart faints
with anxiety to see him, as well as to hear all it
is necessary I should know : think not I can de-
lay a moment : come ; only let me have your arm/'
They gained, in twilight, the hermit's castle,
and entered and sat down, on two large stones,
among the heap of ruins, in the apartment
under Peter's cell. Mr. Fenelly resumed :
" To go on, Mr. M'Carty, with the last
point upon which I said I would inform you,
my story takes this shape. The moment Col-
lum recognized you at the avenue gate, he ran
to me, breathless and trembling, to tell me of
the surprizing event. I need not acquaint you
that he believed you were dead — dead nearly
twenty years: his own life for twenty years
gives the assurance. I could not quite depend
on his information ; for, since we first met, your
unhappy brother has shown, in occasional fits of
insanity, how deep and corroding was his re-
morse; and thank God, that enabled him to
show it, in any way. But he told me other
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 826
matters, which, from the strong bearing upon
them of his first story, and from the earnestness
and clearness with which he pointed out that
connexion, in order to obtain my advice as to
a certain step he instantly proposed to take,
caused me to believe him in his sound senses,
and aware of all he uttered. Collum informed
me that, from Redmond's own lips, he had, a
short time before his meeting with you, re-
ceived an account of a claim of parentage made
upon him by a depraved character, lately well
known here, of the name of Cushneiche, who is
now in prison ; and the youth further gave him
to understand that, working upon his terrors of
the discovery of Cushneiche's claim, his guar-
dian, Pratt, had got him to assent to the sign-
ing of a certain alliance with his, Pratt's, family,
this evening. Now, Sir, you must know, that,
assured of your death, and not thinking himself
bound to proclaim to the world his own dread-
ful part in the supposed tragedy, your brother
had previously made up his mind to encourage
Redmond in forming this very alliance ; be-
cause, as you should further know, Pratt had
taken possession of Redmond's estate and house,
as his own property ; had kept the title-deeds
from Collum and from him ; and altogether
326 PETEE OF THE CASTLE.
evinced such a mind as made it certain that, if
your brother should openly bring him to ac-
count, the old lawyer would oblige him to prove
his real identity, and so, most probably, dis-
cover his crime ; and Collum, therefore, sought
to promote a marriage, between your son and
Pratt's daughter, for the purpose of at once en-
suring to Redmond the independence that was
his right, and of hiding from mankind, and
from his nephew among the number, that be
was a fratricide, and that nephew the son of a
man who fell by the hand of his own brother.
But, while speaking to me, awhile ago, under
the impression, first, that Pratt had, in the base
claim set up by the robber Cushneiche, taken
unfair means to compel his ward into the alli-
ance ; next, that the youth disliked the match,
on account of another liking elsewhere; and
next, and most important of all, that you still
lived, and that therefore the necessity for his
former concealment of his real name and charac-
ter no longer existed : speaking, I say, under
these impressions, Collum changed his opinion
of the expediency of allowing Redmond to form
an alliance against his will and hopes of hap-
piness, and, with my approbation, went off to
Pratt ; reassuming the apparel in which, twenty
PETER OF THB CASTLE. 827
years ago, he presented himself to the lawyer,
after the purchase. of the estate, and when he
delivered up Redmond to his charge ; while I
speak, no doubt, they have met ; and we may
soon expect Collum here, to give us the result
of their interview,"
" This accounts, Mr. Fenelly, for Pratt's
publishing his base rumour ; it is clear he did
so, and, in conjunction with the robber, follow-*
ed it up, as you say, in order to terrify my son
into the marriage. But why so anxious for
the measure? why exert himself to ensure a
union between his daughter and Redmond ? I
cannot understand that."
" The time specified by the statute of limita-
tions has not yet quite expired since the date of the
purchase of the estate in another name than his
own, Sir ; and, perhaps, the old pleader thought
it good policy to ensure to his daughter, and
thereby partially to himself, a property to which
he has no real title, and which the reappearance
of the true owner (even within the few months
that, if expired, would place him in safety,)
might wholly take out of his hands. I have no
difficulty there. My chief question on this point
regards his forming a plot with Cushneiche to
effect his purpose. I do not think a prudent
328 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
person like Pratt would run the risk of com-
mitting himself to such a character, particularly
when his own assertions to Redmond, and the
prevalence of the rumour I am sure he originally
circulated, would, with good management, have
been enough. And, indeed, I believe he never
acted in concert with that robber"
"Your reverance spakes rason," said the
voice of a man, from the water-course over their
heads that led to the hermit's little cell. They
looked up, and a figure passed along and disap-
peared ; and then they heard a foot coming
down the stairs to the room where they sat. It
was Cushn iche himself who spoke:— after
emerging out of the gaoler's cabbage-garden, he
had bent his steps, in consequence of Redmond's
information about the locket, to seek the solitary
in his castle ; had entered the ruin, before the
Count and the priest : explored it in vain for
the person he wished to meet ; when they came
in, secreted himself, in habitual caution, within
the recess above ; so overheard their conversa-
tion : ascertained, to his great astonishment and
delight, who one of the speakers was ; and, at
last, at the proper time, gave the interrup-
In a few seconds the old robber stood before
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 329
the priest and the Count. The latter started at
44 The neighbours they calls myself Cush-
neiche, your reverence," he continued : " an'
happenin' to hear a little of what you said, I
just stepped down to uphould the last words
44 If we may believe you, man," said the
priest, while his companion looked, in the dim
light, closely and anxiously at Cushneiche,
44 you have come in time, indeed, to give us
some explanation of your motive in claiming
Redmond Redmond as your son "
44 Juan M'Carty, your reverence manes, 1 ' in-
terrupted Cushneiche : " I was by when they
put the name on him, at the chrisheninV
The Count again started, and breathed hard.
44 An* that chrishenin happened a little while
afther my captain, Collum M 4 Carty, came in
his brave ship to take home his brother Felix
to Ireland, an* all Felix's threasure along wid
him," continued Cushneiche : " an' the child
got his name in Felix M'Carty's grand house,
near the coast, an' Collum stood godfather.
Musha, Sir," suddenly turning to the Count,
44 do you know who's spakin' to you yet?"
44 M ullally !" starting up.
380 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
" Keeraun Mullally, amost every inch of
him," answered the robber.
" Heavens, Mr. Fenelly ! here is new matter
for amazement 1 Generous, though wretched
man !" extending his hand;-" I have not for-
gotten the act of mercy you once showed me.
But how came you to Ireland ? and why do you.
now stand before me ? Oh, Mr. Fenelly, you
behold the man who— when, as he says, Collum
came to me, across the seas, I knew not from
where, for we had been parted for years, — and
when, at Collum's instance, I turned all my
colonial property into bullion, and embarked it,
with my orphan child, in his vessel — you here
see the man who, ere we had cleared the Western
Islands, was deputed by a wretched brother to
row me from the ship, only as far out to sea as
might hinder my dying cries from being heard,
and there — — " The speaker's recollections
" An' there," said Cushneiche, taking up the
story, "Yallow Sam an' I broke ordhers, for
the first time, an* just rowed about half a league
farther, an' left vou to a Godsend on the shore
of a bit o* land, where the only foes you had to
fear, Masther Felix, war the wild bastes, an*
the hunger an' starvation ; none o' them as bad,
PET BE OF THE CASTLE.
howsQmdever, as the rage an 9 revenge of a born
brother, an 9 one that ought to be a Christhen
man : an* that 's not the way we 'd part you,
sir, if we had any other way to stow you off ;
an' if Captain Collum wasn't waitin' for us on
the deck, in the blackness o' the blackest night
ever fell from the heavens, to get an account of
how we done his biddin', an' if we didn't fear to
lose our own lives for savin' o' your's. An' now
about one o' the quistions you axed me. I 'm
standin' afore you in this ould place to-night,
becase I cum into it on the like arrand wid
yourself an' his reverence, maybe, to thry if
Padhre-na-Moulh isn't the same Collum that,
for near twenty years, none iv us could hear of,
it seems: an' you '11 ax me what put the thought
into my head, an' here's the rason. Do you
remember, Masther Felix, that before we left
you on the wild island, Yallow Sam tuck off o*
your neck a little keepsake, with letthers on it,
an' a goold chain hangin' from it, tellin* you it
was the proof that Collum bid us bring back of
the doin* o' the ordhers he sent us out to do ?"
" Yes, a locket, holding at one side a tress
of my dear wife's hair, and at the other, the
initials of her maiden name P I remember it
332 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
" An' so do I ; an' so I did this mornin',
when I saw it round the neck o' your son, who
tould me he got it in this ould castle. So,
there's what brought me here ; to see the man
that gave it to him, or that had it in his hands
afore he got it. An* it's wid a good will 111
spake in answer to your other questions, too, an'
all they want me to tell, when your honour just
let's me ax a word o' my own. Sam and I gave
the keepsake to Captain Collum, tellin' him his
brother was swimmin' undher as many fathom
o'wather as the sey could rowl over him,- — an' the
good ship brought us all to England. In some
time, for a rason you're to hear, I was forced
to run that same ship across the seys, agin,
widout any one to command her but myself;
an'comin' near the place where Sam an' I left you,
we touched, and went ashore to see if you war
alive or dead. A good while we th ramped
through the bit of an island, over an' hither, but
saw no livin' crature, or a dead one either, till,
walkin* back to the coast, we found the remains
of a man, that the wild bastes, we thought, had
dhragged into a hollow in the rocks, an' left
there, afther a hearty male. There was no face
or fatures, an' the very clothes war tore away ;
an' we said to one another that, there you lay, or
PETER OF THE CASTLE.
the little o^you that was left, any how ; an' from
that day out we gave up all thought of ever
seem' much more o 1 you, either, savin' your pre-
sence, Masther Felix."
•' Alas, the poor remains should have been
mine rather than those of a benefactor who met
a shocking fate while assisting to rescue me.
Some days after you abandoned me, a sail came
in view ; I raised a signal ; she approached me,
and sent a boat. It was a French vessel. The
boat's crew were numerous ; one of them strayed
away from his companions, after landing ; before
we could embark, tigers were heard in the jun-
gle ; the poor man had not been missed ; or was
now forgotten or unheeded ; all crowded into the
boat ; we had not gained the ship when he ap-
peared running towards the shore, and then we
witnessed his dreadful death.
" I will continue to acquaint you with my
fortunes, afterwards, which you must be anxious
to know. The unnatural and abominable crime
of a brother could not be divulged. Even my
own feelings were spared in suppressing it. I
therefore represented myself to the captain of the
vessel as a merchant who had been left on the
island by the mutinous crew of a ship in which
I had taken my passage to Europe. I could
884 FETEB OF THE CASTLE.
truly add, that great wealth had been plundered
from me, and that, after more than twenty years
of toil and industry, I now found myself penny-
less. Suppressing my name, too, with the view
of for ever hiding it from mankind, and particu-
larly from my terrible brother, — with the view,
indeed, of disclaiming a name, that, in the per-
son of that brother, had been so immeasurably
disgraced, I adopted the first Irish one I re-
collected — the same I now bear — CTRuark. A
wealthy and noble Frenchman on board, who bad
been married to an Irish lady, became interested
for me, as well on account of my country, as of
my misfortunes. He offered to assist me when
we should arrive in Europe. With httle hope
or care about the future, I accepted his offer.
He kept his word. Under his auspices, and, in-
deed, his efforts, rather than mine, for the spring
of my own energy was broken — life had no lon-
ger an interest for me — I again arrived at wealth.
He was a widower, like myself, with an only
daughter ; and the single solace of my darkened
and most miserable existence was to assist the
growth of that sweet guTs mind; I loved her as
a child, and even before the death of her father,
she repaid me almost with a child's affection : he
died ; upon his death-bed Rosalie D'Arnelf £
PETER OS THE CASTLE. 335
hand was placed in mine by my excellent friend,
and I promised to be a father to her indeed : I
could not entertain a hope that my own boy,
lived ; whatever was the horrible motive to des-
troy me, must, I thought, have also compassed
his destruction : and the little power left to me
of loving any thing human became roused to-
wards poor Rosalie. Alas, the uniform melan-
choly of my life, increased after the decease of
my friend, and by the approach of old age, has
allowed her but little happiness under my pro-
tection. A few words more conclude my story.
Count D'ArnelPs death made a residence in
France irksome to us both ; added to this, the
yearning that even wretches feel to lay their
bones in their native land, faintly stirred in my
bosom ; I met in Paris an Irish gentleman who
wished to dispose of the house and small estate
I now occupy ; we came to terms ; and the re- f
suit was, that the hand of Providence conducted
me to the spot where a late happiness and bless-
ing were in store for me/'
46 We hard your honour say, just now, 1 ' ob-
served Cushneiche, " that you never guessed
the rason d* Captain Collum's doings, in your re-
gard ; or somethin' o* the kind. First an' fore-
most, on the head o' that, do you know, yet,
336 PETER OF THE CA8TLE.
what kind of a ship he came to see you in, an 1
what kind d* hands sailed undher him ?".
" Collum told me that some years after I
left Ireland — where, indeed, we parted in un-
" Yes, Sir; he thought you had no "right to
keep all the little fort'n your father left be-
" I did not keep it all, though I knew he
hated me for saving out of his imprudent hands
a small portion of the bequest that was exclu-
sively mine; — no, I was not a selfish brother;
he had means from me to support years of idle
and disreputable squandering ; and I ceased to
supply him, only when I became assured that
to do so, was but to encourage him in a ruinous
career, and at the same time ruin myself; and
when my remonstrances, as an elder brother,
were not only neglected, but met with ungrate-
ful, and, I may say, savage hostility.* 1
" Well, Sir ; but there was another little ra-
son why Collum didn't love nor like a bone in
your skin. You married the girl that, afore
you an* she cum together, he was dyin' for."
u Is that possible?" starting in unfeigned
surprise; " I never suspected he could dislike
me for such a reason, because I never knew be-
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 887
fore this moment that such a one existed. My
wife — before she was my wife, — could not have
been aware of his feelings ?"
" I blieve not, Sir ; an' it waa fresh fuel to
the fire in Black Collum's breast, within, that,
when fie put himself in her way, the colleen's
eye never tould that she liked t o see him afore
her. He was too proud to beg the love from
her; but her couldness was enough to gnaw
his heart for ever, an' to make him hate, in the
bottom o' the heart, the man that won more fa-
vour than he could, — though th at man was own
mother's son to him. An' now, what did he
tell you, when he came to see you, Sir ?"
" He told me that, as I said, a few years
after I left Ireland, he went to seek his for-
tune in Spain ; there met a co untryman whose
mercantile pursuits had produced him much
wealth ; entered the house of this person as
an assistant ; became a partner, married his
daughter, was at last trading to the colonies
on his own account, and so had come, owner
and captain together, of the fine vessel you
" Now listen to the thrue story. Afther ye
parted in Ireland, he went to sey, an' worked
for years afore the mast; deserted from his
vol. in. a
338 PETEE OF THE CASTLE.
ship ; fell in, among the American Islands, with
some rf the last o* the bould ' brethern d*
the coast* ; found their life more to his hand an >
his likitf than any other; got promotion an f
command among 'em, — for out o' six ships' crews
even of such born divils as they war, few had
the hand an* heart to do, an' fewer the head to
plan, like Collum— barrin' in the ould times,
lads like ould Van-Horn, Sawkins, and Morgan
the Taffy, that I hard tell of : an* so, Sir, it
was in a good ship, borrowed from the king o*
Spain himself, by two simple boat-fulls o' such
boys as we 're spakin' of, wid Black Collum at
their head, an* my own poor bones among 'em,
that your brother cum to visit you ; an* it was
afther ten years of a life spent on the wild seys
in such company, he cum ; an* it was from the
doin' o things that harden the heart o' man, in
cruelty, as well as courage an' bouldness, he
cum ; things that good christhins wouldn't be-
lieve, an' that the wide an* silent ocean war the
fittest witness of; — this was the brother you
met at last, afther a partin* o' twenty years, an'
all his ould grudges fresh in his heart agin
you ; this was the man you thrusted yourself,
an' your boy, an' your thrtfasure to; the man
that I often seen head an open boat to attack a
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 339
mounted two decker, as sure of the battle as if
he war the hell-fire divil in arnest, that his ene-
mies tuck him for ; the man that I often seen
spring up into the mouths of ten roarin' cannon,
the blazes, that couldn't kill him, scorchin' him,
an' twenty hangers an' dirks hid for him in the
cloud o' smoke he jumped, screechm, into ; the
man that never yet put his foot on a deck he
didn't masther; an' the man, too, that never
stood five minutes on the deck he masthered,
without clearin' it from stim to sterun, from
the mast-head to the hould, of every sowl that
riz a hand or spoke a breath agin his right an 1
" An* maybe, I can g? your honour one or
two rasons more why Black Collum let the duoul
tempt him, that night you remember so well.
The first year you went across the sey, do you
bring to mind a brown Spanish girl, that had no
objections to your makin' your own of her ?—
You do ; well aroon. She an* Collum met afther ;
an\ keepin' her mind to herself, — only that
of an odd time, I pumped it out of her,— she let
him take her by the hand ; they war togither
when he touched on the coast : she knew you,
an' was at his elbow in the ship when you cum
aboord, an' for the sake o* the threasure vou
840 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
had, as she purtended, it was her voice that first
turned his thought to ruin you. Maybe he
didn't mind her word about the threasure, but
that his own ould hathred only wanted the
wind of any word to blow it into a blaze.
Maybe he did mind it : for we war just afther
losin', by rason of our partner runriin' aground
out of our company, the plundher of three
good galloons ; an 9 it can't be hid that love an'
likin' for the goold an' the silver was always
the freshest breeze that filled our canvas ; — an',
may be, more than all, the wine an* the brandy,
that ever made him a horned divil, entirely,
fixed the thought in his head an' heart, that
" It's a thruth that the next mornin', Black
Collum looked blacker than ever, an' we could
all see it was a new darkness that cum upon
him: but Yallow Sam an* I knew, above the
rest, the raal manin' of it. We knew that the
little conscience he had left, made hell's tor-
ments in his sowl within. An' a greater mark
of his mind was in the way he began to grow
fond o' the child of his brether : an' it warn't
long until I gained the knowledge of how it all
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 841
" He called me below, one night, an' tould
me it was in his thought to give up a sey life*
an wid his brother s threasure, an' some of his
own, buy a bit o' land in ould Ireland ; an*
that he'd bring young Juan to live on it wid
him, and lave it all to the boy on his death-bed.
He axed me to stand by him in the schame,
an* I promised. We landed in England, afther
partin* a'most all our hands, an' came bouldly
into the mouth o' the comely river that runs
into the sey from Lunnon. He an* I went up
to the town, lavin' the ship in care o' Yallow
Sam. There he saw an offer made in the news-
paper to sell such an estate as he wanted,
an' Pratt's name as the person to bargain wid
for it. He wrote to Pratt, undher the name of
Redmond Velasquez, an got letthers in return.
I saw them all ; for I was his adviser in every
thing. We had some delay in turnin' the whole
of our threasure into money, afther the land
was bought ; that was the rason he couldn't go
over to Ireland in speed ; an' at last, when
he did go, bringin* the boy wid him, an* the
women I tould you of, to take care of the boy,
it was afore the same business was settled ; so
that he left me in Lunnon wid word to wait till
348 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
he cum back, when we could get all our money
together, sellin' the ship, at the same time, and
then we war to go to Ireland for life.
u Now comes on some o' the story ye like to
hear best. About a week afther Collum left
me, I got a letther from him, givin' an account
of all he said an' done wid Pratt, an' how the
title-deeds war not ready, but that the attorney
gave him an' ownin' of 'em ; an' the way he put
the child into his hands; an', to make long
short, the letther tould me all that ye 11 soon
hear I tould your son, Sir, a few days back, to
make him think I was his father ; an' that I
knew Pratt couldn't and wouldn't gainsay, un-
dher the fear of two loaded pistols, in his hear-
in'. An' this letther was sent to me to bid me
do some things to be ready for Collum's return
to JLunnon, that we might have the less delay
in-goin' back together, to Ireland; an' the ship
he sailed in was wind-bound at the time, in an
Irish port. Well, I did what he bid me, an
wated for his comin'. But he didn't come. A
month wore away, an' I hard nothin' o' my
captain ; an* my mind grew uneasy by rason of
whisperins an' cullodgin' about our ship an' us,
that Yallow Sam tould me sthrayed to his ears.
At last, I got another letther that a'most broke
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 343
my heart. It was a letther to take a long lave
o* me. Collum wrote word that we war to be
parted for ever an* a day ; that I could never
hear more of him ; that he was lost to me an' to
the wide world, along wid me; that I might
sell the ship, or keep it, an' take up the money
too, owin' to us in Lunnon, an be my own mas-
ther; only he prached to me, like any sog-
garth or parson, to turn into some good coorse,
an' end my life well, an' betther than he could,
now. What was I to think from this, but that
the law had clapt hands on him, when he laste
expected it, an* that it was his last speech
he sent me? Divii another thing, I b'lieved,
(an' Yallow Sam was o' the same mind wid me,)
could turn the captain into a sarment-maker, for
all that was past an' gone — the throubles o' con-
science, themselves, for what he thought he
done to his born brother, didn't give us a rason:
sure if we had a notion that he was so sorry for
it entirelv, an' 'ud like to be undeceaved on
the head of it, an' not take our own lives for
disobeyin' his ordhers, it's long afore we'd tell
him the thruth o' the business; so, cock-sure
he was a gone-man, Sam an' I began to be
afeard on ouf own account ; an' the whispers I
tould of, growin* more suspicious every day,
344 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
faith, we just slipt into the good ship one morn-
in', an' made for the ould point, to begin the
world in the ould way, on our own bottoms.
That was the time we touched to look for you,
Sir, on the bit of a wild island.
" But loock an' grace left us wid our captain.
In a little while, the ship went to pieces on a
rock ; Sam an' I, out of all the hands, war pick-
ed up by an Englishman, an' landed on Eng-
lish ground, once-again. Some little thrade like
our own, only in the land-sarvice, was goin
on, that time, upon the high-roads cT the place,
an' afore we'd go over to Ireland to see what
Pratt done wid the child — for that scheme was
always in our mind, afther the first fright o'
runnin' away in our own poor ship— sure we
thought, as we wanted throveUm' charges, we
might as well turn our hand to industhry.
But, bad loock to the land, an' glory to the
sey— axin** your reverances pardon — there was
no such fightin' room, or sailitf room, as we
war used to; an' we made a bad business of
it, an' war soon captured atf put up. The turn
of a sthraw saved our necks, an' they sent us
to Botany ; an*, as I tould the boy yesterday
evening (only changin' a little thing or two, to
parve a purpose)- — we had such good lookm*
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 34$
afther there, that, wid all our knowledge, we
couldn't slip a cable on 'em for near twenty long
years, until at last a good chance stood our
friend, an* away we worked our passage to Ire-
land, still bent on seem' whether or no the ould
attorney done his duty by our captain's bro-
I remembered Collum's first letther to me,
an' we soon made out the ground we wanted.
We couldn't dhrame of callin' Pratt to account,
his own self, or in an open way, in regard he
might by that manes find out what kind of a
customer he had in Collum for the estate, an'
so the boy might be ruined entirely ; an' may-
be, for another rason ; we landed in the poor
ould counthry as bare as Job, an' our mouths
war to be filled, an' our backs covered ; an' so,
afore we got near Pratt's part o' the counthry,
a thrick or two o' the ould thrade sarved our
turn ; an' it was likely the lawer^man 'ud soon
smell us out, an' that the welcome he 'd give us
'ud be none o' the kindest, an' not one that 'ud
speed our business either. But to see the boy
himself was our schame ; an' if Pratt didn't
thrate him well, to tell him who an' what he
was, an' his right to the estate, an' every thing
else we ought to tell him. Redmond, as they
846 PETEE OF THE CASTLE.
called him, wasn't at home, howsomdever ; an'
we had to wait a long while till he cum from
Dublin ; an' then, to tell God's thruth, we
war forced to make more cruizes about the
place, wid help from recruits on the spot, that
put us in more danger than ever from Pratt an'
his sort, an 1 gave more rason why we war be-
houldin' to take care who we opened our mind
" At last I come across the boy, on the hill
near the house ; an' at last I'm to tell ye why I
put the quare story on him ye know about, in-
stead 6* the thrue one I thravelled so far to
tell him. First, I didn't know him from Adam,
when we met, until he wanted me to take, along
wid a brave hanful o' goold an' silver, a little
meddle, like that I remembered, even in the
light of a bad moon, was hung round his neck,
at the chrishenin' of him, by his uncle an' his
godfather, an' that I often seen afore — an' may-
be the way it came into Collum's hands, too.
Well, when I saw it was the boy I wanted,
I saw, at that same time, he was in some fit o'
passion or other, as high as the highest wind the
duoul ever blew, an' not the laste fit to hear sense
an' rason, or take the right coorse afther hearin*
a story that concamed him nearly; more-be-
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 347
token, however it happened — an' I know, now,
though I couldn't guess, then—his flurry seemed
to be on the head of the very business I wanted
to talk to him about ; an', to mend the matther,
the moment I just threw out a word o' sound-
ins, like, that I could help him to a knowledge
o' the father of him, — an' this was afore I guess-
ed he was ravin' on the self-same question — the
gor^oon opened on me in such a way, an* threat-
ened me so hard, in regard o what he'd do to
me an* to the wide world if I didn't show him
his father was safe, or tell him who kilt him or
hurt him, supposin' him not to be safe, that,
faith, genteels, as we war alone on that wild
hill, an' as he an' I had a little tussle at the first
goin' off, an' I nothin' the betther o' the same,
it cum into my head not to tell him at that pra-
sant minute the whole o' the right story. But
as he bawled at me to tell him somethin' or
other, an' as a sthrife betwixt us 'ud lade to
no good, any how, whichever was up or down,
why, afther takin' a start o' thought on the
whole matther, here's what I said, an* why I
" ' You 're my own child, Redmond,' says I,
' becase, genteels, if I tould him who the raal
father was, an' what happened him at the hands
348 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
of his own brother, an' our lavin' him on the
island, instead o' throwin' him, neck an' heels,
out o' the boat, d'ye think the angry boy 'ud
be satisfied wid my account? or b'lieve we
hadn't kilt him instead o' savin' him ? — or wait
to pondher it one way or the other, only either
fly at me, to take my life that minute, or else
dhrag me off to a gaol, an' so put himself as
well as me into Pratt's clutches ? — But it cum
across my mind, that if I could persuade him he
was the son of an buld free-boother^ (though I
say the word that shouldn't say it) telhV him,
at the same time, all the rest o' the business,
just as Collum's first letther tould me, only put-
tin' myself in Collum's place, an' gettin' Pratt
to prove my words afther, — it cum across me
that this 'ud cool the boy, an' bring him to
his rason; the shame o' such a father as I
was, God help me! 'ud make him hould his
tongue, an' take a close part, an' lave me to
see him righted, in a way o' my own ; an' then
when all was clane over, my last thought
was to dhraw off out o' harum's way, from
him, an' Pratt, an' the whole kit o'ye, an'
write a letther, as well as I remembered how,
that 'ud clear up the only point I darkened
him on, an' give the name an' the karacthar
, PETER OF THE CASTLE. % 849
of the thrue Redmond Velasquez, an', by
coorse, the thrue man that once owned him.
An* so, there 's the manin' o"* the part I tuck,
an' there 's all my little schames for ye, from
bigginnin' to ending as bright as they cum
into Eeeraun Mullally's head, an' as he done
'em, or as he meant to do 'em, any how."
350 PETER OF THE CA8TLE.
u It was of a dreary night in December, I
first met your brother Collum, Sir," said the
priest, after the old pirate had done speaking,
and when Mr. Felix M'Carty, as we are now
obliged to call him, had put some questions to
Mr. Fenelly ; — " of a Saturday-night, too ; I
remember it well ; one of the last upon which
my poor people crowd into the little chapel to
prepare for their Christmas duty. Ere I en-
tered the confessional, I had observed a very
remarkable roan sauntering, or rather dodg-
ing about the chapel-yard that was before the
chapel-door. He wore a sailor's dress; one
marking a degree above the common sailor,
for aught I know; but his air, his facte, his step,
and the whole bearing of his tall, straight figure
suggested, at all events, the idea of a superior
person. Something wondering to see a stranger
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 351
of his kind in such a place and also recollect-
ing that on one or two occasions before, I had
noticed him, at a distance, in the lonesome
walks about the village, I passed into the cha-
pel, sat down in my confession-box, and began
the duties of the evening. A great number, as is
usual on the approach of Christmas and Easter,
were waiting to be heard, as we call it, in their
turns ; and I could not change fast enough in
my box for them, and open the slide of the
little round orifice at either side, to listen alter-
nately to the varied avowals of human frailty
that craved my advice, my control, and finally,
through my mouth, a conditional promise of
pardon from my God. An hour might have
been thus spent, when, chancing to look out
through the slit in the curtain of my box, I
recognized the tall and almost sublime figure
of the stranger, leaning against one of the little
rude props that supported the thatched roof of
my humble chapel. From another prop, the
weak light of a tin sconce, or lamp, fell upon
his features, and allowed me to see their ex-
pression ; and I thought I read upon his
cloudy brow, and his rolling eye, and in his
half-open and contorted mouth, the story of a
bosom blackened with crime, torn with remorse,
85& PETER OF THE CASTLE.
and just beginning to work in the terrible
labour of a first repentance. I could perceive
that he eyed askance the humble crowds that,
in the dreary twilight, knelt around him where
he stood ; and, now and then, that his agitated
glance followed those who came, some moving
on their knees, to confess their burden of sin ;
and those who, their ordeal over, returned from
the confessional to the railing of the sanctuary
to throw themselves, there, in aspirations of
thanks to God, and of promises of future vir-
tue. Having remarked him, for some time,
I proceeded in my duty. About another hour
elapsed before I thought I could properly spare
time to pay him more attention, and a sweet
little child of thirteen or fourteen, who went
from me with permission to approach her first
communion, had, accompanied by her father,
also a penitent of the evening, gone to the
sanctuary to complete their devotions ; when I
was alarmed by a sudden noise and outcry, that
spread among all the people of the chapel,
and hastily stepping out of my box, I found
the poor stranger just after flinging himself
prostrate by the side of the child, while his
frame shook, groans and sobs broke from his
manly breast, and the glorious tears of a true
PETEE OF THE CASTLE. 352.
repentance ran down the backs of the hands
with which he covered his face. Not unaffect-
ed, myself, I raised him and held him in my
arms, and whispered the words of sublime
consolation my merciful and Almighty Mastei
had commanded me to drop as so many drops
of oil upon the torn heart of the remorseful sin-
ner. My words seemed to overwhelm him with
greater agony. He would have again fallen at
my feet. I resisted his attempt. We retired
from the wondering and sympathizing crowd,
into the little sacristy at the back of the altar.
That night — that moment, Collum McCarthy
first sued for peace with his God ; but if there
is more to be told, he must be the speaker."
u There is more to be told, and he will be
the speaker," repeated a low and broken voice ;
and all looking up, saw the figure Redmond
had just seen in his guardian's house, filling the
blank of the square door- way of the room they
occupied, and swaying, to and fro, as if, from
physical weakness, or agitation, or both, the
limbs refused their usual office.
"Collum, Collum! brother, brother!" — ex-
claimed Felix McCarthy, in a voice almost as
broken and feeble ; he rose up as he spoke, and
took a step towards the door; the wretched
854 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
Collum, with a faint groan, stumbled over the
stone threshold, and lay on the floor, at his
brother's feet, prostrate, senseless, and bleeding
in the temple from the violence of his heavy fall.
They raised him, and bore him down stairs to the
nearest of the squalid couches usually occupied
by one of his old attendants. When he par-
tially recovered, and found his hand in that of
his brother, he uttered mournful cries, snatched
the hand away, and again laid his head at
" Oh, Collum, my brother, my poor bro-
ther !" resumed Felix, " why do you refuse my
" You cannot, you never can say, i forgive 9 P
murmured the unhappy man, as his face was
hid on the floor.
" I call, Collum ; brother, I can ; I have said
the word ; I say it now ; and let you only say
another word : say but that you can love me at
last, and for the time to come, and we may yet
be happy brothers together."
Collum slowly raised himself, looked gradu-
ally but steadfastly into the features of the
speaker, then, clasping his hands, addressed him-
self in joyful murmurs to Heaven, and finally
embraced his brother's knees, while that bro-
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 355
ther put his arms round his body, and inclined
a cheek to his.
" The peace and pardon of the God of peace
be with you, and dwell with you, my children,"
said the clergyman, kneeling. The old pirate,
tears stealing down his iron cheeks, knelt also,
and added an " amen," not unacceptable, per-
haps, even after his life of sin, in his present
situation, and with his sincere feelings.
" The moment I left the child with Pratt,
in the carriage," said Collum, as soon as he
had gained the power of speaking, and ascer-
tained from the words of those around him to
what extent they wished him to speak : " I
walked, with my bad companion, to the ship,
that, at only a short distance from the little se&-
coast village, awaited to bear us back to Eng-
land. Oh, let me humbly, but earnestly re-
quest you to believe that even then, although
my evil nature had not permitted a thorough
change, true sorrow and remorse weighed me
down for the unnamable crime of which I
thought myself guilty; and guilty I was and
am : although a merciful Providence would
not permit the murder, I was guilty to the full
extent of intention. The sea was not calm
when we embarked ; but I thought it smooth as
856 PETEE OF THE CASTLE.
glass, and I panted for the roaring and lash-
ing waves that would lift our little vessel into
the clouds, and dash it back again into the val-
leys of ocean, and scourge and buffet us, as did
the tumbling passions which assailed my ob-
durate heart. I had my wish ; the storm came 4
and came for an end at once more terrible and
merciful than I had contemplated. During
one dark day and darker night, we were driven
from point to point around the shore of Ire-
land ; until at last, upon some wild and almost
desert part of the western coast, in the pro-
vince of Connaught, I believe, our buffeted
ship struck to pieces. It was near morning. I
awoke to sense, lying among a pile of rocks,
the partner of many of my crimes stretched by
my side, while one of my arms grasped her hair.
It seems I had rescued her ; though I did not
and do not remember the circumstances. She
recovered, too, pouring, forth curses the mo-
ment she had breath to give them utterance.
She was mad: terror, and bufferings against
the rocks, with their results, had bewildered
her; her leg and arm, and some of her ribs
were shattered, and she suffered great pain.
She cursed me as her destroyer, and a hundred
times called on Heaven to shower down vep-
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 85^
geance on my head, and hell to open at our
feet, and receive us together. She denounced
me as the murderer of my brother, whom, by
her ravings I now discovered, she had once
fiercely loved ; and called on me to prepare for
the eternal miseries that crime kept in store for
me. Growing worse, she conjured up his spirit,
and her hoarse screams, mixed with the hoarse
roaring of the sea, and the rolling of her ma-
niac eyes as she pointed him out among the
grey rocks, or spoke to him to ensure maledic-
tions to me, were horrible — in my bodily weak-
ness and mental acknowledgments of all she
said, they made me almost as mad as she was.
Now and then she would furiously call on me
to bring her water to cool her burning lips, and
food for the hunger she only thought she felt ;
but I could not move from her side ; my own
thigh was sorely bruised, and I was unable to
walk a step ; and when her demands were not
fulfilled, the frantic wretch repeated her ter-
rible blasphemies, until the marrow froze in my
bones. Once, as the sunless day was nearly
spent, she turned suddenly on her side, as we
lay stretched together, glared into my eyes,
snatched my arm, and attempted to put it to
her teeth. About half way in the night after
858 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
our wreck, she died, clinging close to me, and
calling me with her to the place of torments she
anticipated for herself.
" I lay by her, until, in the darkness of that
infernal night, the spirit of madness she had
just breathed out, entered into me, and I was
at last indeed as mad, and more accurst in my
madness than the wretch I had survived. The
crimes of which she but spoke, I felt ; and all
her terrors and fancies came tenfold more vi-
vidly to my diseased eye. The shade she had
imagined was soon presented to me too; and the
hell she raved of I also called up around me ;
the booming of the sea turned into the roar of
its flames. Towards morning I sank down,
" I was aroused by two fishermen, who lifted
me up. Reason came back, but remorse was
confirmed. They buried the body in the sand ;
and then helped me to crawl towards their
distant and humble cabin. On our way they
found a» strongly clasped trunk, with a spring
lid, which I knew to be mine ; they gave it into
ray possession without a word. Under their
roof I recovered from the contusion on my
thigh, and gained strength to walk about and
think. My mind took a vague resolve to go
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 859
back to the village, in the neighbourhood of
which I had left my brother's child, and there
retire from the world, perhaps without disco-
vering myself, or without claiming the estate
I had purchased, and spend my life in watching
him. I had firmly determined never to seek
out rny old mates in England. In fact, consci-
ence was weighing me to the earth, and already
sapping the strength of my fierce heart, al-
though I was not yet humbled into a true, full,
and, as it ought to be, overwhelming view of
the crime I had perpetrated.
" I purchased a sailor's dress out of the con-
tents of my trunk ; stuffed into the trunk
my half Spanish dress, and brought it with
me, by a secret conveyance, to the village
spoken of. Avoiding the little inn where I had
first met the agent, I took up my abode in one
of even less consideration, on the outskirts of
the village. It was of a Sunday evening that
I reached the secluded place. Its humble
people, men, women, and children, were walking
about gaily, or laughing in groups at their
doors. Peace and simplicity spread around me,
and the contrast of my bosom grew blacker. I
heard the chime of a little bell, and many of the
villagers, young and old, hastened off to some
360 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
particular point. Following them, I came to a
lowly, thatched building, which, from the rude
cross at one end, I recognized to be a Roman
Catholic chapel, removed but a short distance
from the Protestant church, that was formed
out of part of the ruins of an old abbey, and
both having a common burying-ground. The
simple crowds entered the chapel ; I lurked in
the church-yard ; and presently rose the vesper-
chaunt, that in my boyish days was so familiar
to my ears, and often to my tongue*: I thrilled
from head to foot ; my pulses beat achingly ;
my throat was pained ; I felt all the symptoms
of coming tears ; but they were too darkly pent
up to flow yet. That was the first moment,
however, in which the first thought of religi-
ous satisfaction for my sin glanced across my
" 1 returned to my lodging-house, and heard
the landlady and some of her gossips speak
about the great fortune that was newly come
into Lawyer Pratt's hands, and of the supposed
nephew he had sent to nurse at a neighbour's
cabin. Next day, ascertaining the situation of
the nurse's house, I walked out, and strolled
about it. In some time a young married wo-
man, carrying a child in her arms, crossed my
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 361
path. From her prattle to the unconscious in-
fant, I learned it was my brother's son. Stop-
ping her, to ask a word about my way back to
the village, I took an opportunity to approach
the child. It stretched out its little arms to me.
I shrunk from it in horror, and walked rapidly
away. The parish priest just then appeared in
view, riding along the road from his house,
to administer spiritual comfort to some rela-
tive of a poor man, who, weeping profusely, ran
on at his side. An impulse seized me to wait
till he should be coming back, and fling my-
self at his feet. For this purpose I sauntered
about the road ; the priest re-appeared ; I could
not keep my resolution.
" For a week I thus continued in a lethargy,
if so it may be called, which, leaving me alive
to all the tortures of my situation, would not
permit an effort for relief. Every day I stole
out, to the cabin where the child was at nurse,
and waited for hours to catch a sight of it. At
last came the Saturday night Mr. Fenelly has
already spoken of. Without any summons from
the chapel-bell, I saw the people going off, one
by one, to the chapel. I recollected on what
business. I recollected it was to prepare them-
selves for meeting, with clean breasts, the anni»
VOL. III. E
362 PKTEB OF THE CASTLE.
versary of the, day upon which the Saviour ap-
peared among men, to shed his blood for the
blackest sinner. I walked quickly in the foot-
steps of the villagers : but, arrived at the cha-
pel-door, could not enter. As I hesitated, the
priest came towards the door; I saw his eye
watching me, and I slunk back in terror. In
some time a father came up, leading by the
hand a beautiful girl. Ere they went into the
chapel, he stooped down and kissed her cheek.
I followed them.
" I had been in great churches in great cities;
I had heard the organ's peal echoing through
the arched intricacies of fretted roofs and
branching aisles and cloisters ; I had seen ho-
mage done to God amid the blaze of a hundred
lights, the fume of incense, and the pomp of
ceremony ; but never did I feel the influence of
religion so powerfully as in the dusk and the
silence of this lowly, thatched chapel, and among
the humble village crowds that knelt around
me. There were no spectators here ; none come
to look on, and go away unprofitably ; all were
actors, — and all. were in earnest. I leaned
against a wooden prop, and looked stealthily
around me. The pain came again into my
throat, and my breast swelled and swelled as if
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 368
it would have burst. My eye sought the father
and his innocent and beauteous child. They
had placed themselves at different sides of the
confession box* The father first knelt up and
waited for his daughter. When she had ended
her confession, they walked hand in hand to the
rails, passing closely by me. He smiled; and
as she looked up into his face, smiling too, tears
swam in her truly angelic eyes.- Before this I
had been much moved; now I was subdued.
I tottered to the sanctuary, and there, falling by
the girl's side, « Oh God P I cried, " let guilt
sue for pardon in the company of innocence P —
The priest came to me, and we were soon alone.
" Twenty years, or my future life, if I should
not live so long, was the term of the penance
laid upon me. No matter what were the con-
ditions of that penance, I did not deem them
enough to expiate the deed I thought I had
committed, and I added, by vow, pthers, which,
through weakness and wandering of mind, I
have since observed. Twenty years of loneliness
and silence among men, while the bread of my
existence was to be begged at the doors of the
charitable. The product of the wealth, partly
for which I had steeped my hands in a brother's
blood, I for ever renounced. The usual com-
364 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
forts of lodging and lying down, the show of
dress, any thing by which a mark of equality
with my fellows could be retained, was inter-
dicted. I joyfully took up any burden of
atonement ; joyfully, because, with the terrible
reprehensions that impressed on me a full sense
of my guilt, the sweet, sweet whispers of con-
ditional pardon and mercy stole into my heart.
Twenty years — a life, even if life could last
thrice twenty years, was now nothing to me but
the interval between crime and its pardon — be-
tween misery and peace !
" Perhaps the excess of my feelings urged
me to overstrain the terms according to which
I could hope to be forgiven ; perhaps reason,
then and afterwards, wavered in the combat
of hopes and fears, of recollections and ter-
rors, within me. That very night I left the
village, and walked to this ruin which has since
been my residence. Carrying with me the
trunk that contained the dress in which you
now see me, and the remaining money of which
I stood possessed, I rooted a hole in the wall of
the cell over head, and buried it from my sight
or touch for ever. My sailor's clothes were
worn until they fell in rags from my back, and .
then other rags supplied them. While in the
i PETER OF THE CASTLE; 365
fisherman's hut, near where I had been ship-
wrecked, and before my mind finally revolted
at the idea of rejoining my former comrades, I
had written a letter to the man I see here at
my side, giving him an account of my interview
with Pratt, and my disposal of the child : now,
in accordance also with a promise made, I again
wrote to him, taking a farewell, and admonish-
ing him to turn from evil. My days, and the
greater part of my nights, were spent in lowly
prayers, or in contemplating the enormity of
my crime, so that my soul might be moved to
greater sorrow, or any occasional impatience
of my lot absorbed in a sense of duty. But I
was not always successful in obtaining the quiet
that prayer should confer. Perhaps, too, hu-
man nature sometimes grew stronger than my
resolves ; or madness itself may have come to
raise terrible battles in my brain and heart. It
is certain that, in my most bitter solitude, I was
not left untempted. Self-destruction crossed
my thoughts more than once; and upon a
night, five years after my seclusion, I rushed,
screaming, to the river side, and plunged in.
But Heaven again was merciful. Two old
creatures, wanderers like myself, dragged me
from the water; and constant visits from my
866 PETE A OF THE CASTLE.
adviser, ttieir watchfulness, and, in a degree,
their society, commanded and permitted by him,
saved me till this hour.
" The question of the claim and birth of my
brother's child did not fail to interest my most
excellent counsellor. It was decided that, hay-
ing sincerely entered into an atonement for my
crime, I had no right to expose it to the world ;
and if the boy could have his own without
any avowal that might incur this chance, I was
not to interfere. Time was therefore taken to
watch Pratt's intentions. Notwithstanding the
rumour of his possessing the estate in his own
right, they seemed favourable. In a few years
he married, and had a daughter, and people
said he destined his ward to make her his wife.
One evening I met the boy in his nurse's arms,
in company with Pratt and his lady, and their
own infant, and as I passed them unnoticed,
certain expressions uted by them made me as-
sured that the common report was well founded.
The education he gave my nephew, as years
rolled on, left no doubt It was with great
sorrow, therefore, that a short time ago, I dis-
covered Redmond's, or more properly, Juan's,
disinclination to the proposed match. Wishing
to give him a direction which would be for his
PETEE OF THE CASTLE. 367
own good, I often urged bim to a union with hie
young and amiable friend; but in vain; his
heart was bestowed on Rosalie D*ArnelL The
occurrences of this day and night may show,
however, that every thing has happened for the
" I grow weak : I have been very ill for
some days past ; the effort I made to visit Pratt
was forced ; and now the sickness returns : I
am, indeed, very feeble " he sunk on the
couch upon which he had hitherto been sitting ;
his brother and the priest sprang to support
him. "It will be useless," he continued,
" I have had the sense of coming death on me
before this ; and now My lips and throat
are parched; Jet any good Christian here go
up to my little cell^and bring a drop of water
to me for the love of God; it is in a little
Cushneiche, saying he knew very well where
it was, ran up the stairs. "Yes, v continued
Collum ; *' and now, though I dare not and do
not ask to have life shortened one hour, if I
have not erred in my hopes, a blessed relief is
" Collum," said Felix, " do not speak those
368 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
words; your trials are over: you stand for-
given upon earth and in Heaven; the future
upon earth should be happy ; and it shall, if a
brother's care and love can make it so ; cheer up ;
if you have strength to walk to my house "
" No, Felix/' interrupted the wretch, " that
can never be; your forgiveness — your being
alive to forgive me — is the greatest blessing;
your fellowship I cannot, dare not court, even
was there a promise of life to seek it. Oh, my
soul shrinks at the thought ! How could I
sit by your fire-side ? . How lookT into your
face ? No, my brother, no ! — give your hand,
again ; I ask that : and now one drop of water ;
one drop for His sake who ." He was again
silent ; Cushneiche appeared with the bottle ;
as Felix stooped to put it to his mouth, he
shuddered to touch his face, — a deathy perspira-
tion spread over it.
" Collum, "' he resumed, "you must leave this
place ; I will send my servants to bear you out
of it ; farewell but for a moment."
" Stay," said Collum, faintly ; " if the priest
is here — was he not here? My brain swims,
my eyes fail — but I think he was ; — let him lay
his hands on my head — and. though I cannot
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 369
kneel, let him say the last words of pardon;
and you, too, my brother, you-* " His utter-
ance quite failed. Mr. Fenelly hastily pro-
ceeded to discharge the duty demanded of him.
Collum recovered a little, and as the clergyman
had the sacrament with him, it was adminis-
tered. All knelt in prayer : the tears and sobs
of Felix only interrupting the solemn scene. At
last there was a pause.
" Does he live yet ?" asked Felix of the priest.
" He does — and perhaps life is not in such
great danger. Let us all exert ourselves for
assistance. I will go home for some medicines
of my own. This man can hasten to the village
for the physician — and you, Sir, to your house,
to summon your servants :— quick — do not he-
sitate to leave him here. — Listen to the persons
that now enter the castle— they will watch him
as well or better than we can— come, Sir, come."
Felix, the priest, and Cushneiche, left the
apartment upon the separate errands Mr. Fe-
nelly had specified. On the stairs they met
the two old men, come back from a fruitless
search after Collum, and already beginning to
exclaim against the noise of intruders that had
caught their ears. But a few words from the
priest silenced them ; and, at his command, they
STO PETER OF THE CASTLE.
liobbled up to afford perhaps the last service to
their old master.
Cushneiche was the first to return to the
castle, with the village physician. He found
the apartment in which he had left Collum
empty : neither he nor the old men were in it.
He concluded that his brother had quickly
arrived with the servants, and removed him.
The priest reappeared, and took the same
opinion. But immediately after, Felix M'Carty
came into the room, followed by persons of his
household, and disowned the proceeding they
had attributed to him. Surprise now seized on
all. They called out; the old echoes alone
answered them. They went up to Padhre's
cell ; it was also empty. The servants were dis-
patched for lights, to explore more minutely.
In the pause a new visitor was heard entering
the ruin. It was Redmond. After the scene
at Pratt's house, when his stupified thoughts
had time to make associations, he concluded, al-
though he had got no convincing view of the
features, that the silent visitor could be no
other than Padhre-naJlf bulh ; and, after an-
other lapse of time spent in giving orders for
the comforts of Ellen, and of her father too, he
teld walked to the castle. For the scene that
PETER OP THE CASTLE. 371
awaited him in it he was little prepared ;
and we are as little able to do it justice by a
The father and son were roused from each
other's embrace, by the appearance of the ser-
vants with torches. Being briefly made ac-
quainted with the urgent business in hand,
Redmond assisted in the search for Collum.
The cell above was again examined; no one
appeared. Redmond had the curiosity to try
for the secreted box of arms and treasure ; to
his surprise it was not forthcoming. The ruin
contained no other rooms except the ground-
floor, which all knew to be blocked up, and
which Redmond, from recent experience, was
aware could not be approached. Upon a sup-
position that the old men might have convey-
ed their charge to one of the adjacent ruins,
all were explored, but to no purpose. The
grounds immediately about them and near to
them, underwent a further search. Hours were
thus fruitlessly spent ; the adjacent cabins were
visited, and every inquiry made; and at last,
as morning broke, Felix M'Carty, Redmond,
the priest, and Cushneiche retired to Felix's
house, leaving the servants to pursue a more
minute and extensive investigation, and deter-
372 PETEB OF THE CA8TLE.
mined, themselves, to renew, in a few hours, an
inquiry into the matter that so much confounded
But before the time of exertion came, a letter
was left at the avenue gate, which seemed to
forbid as useless, further attempts to discover
Coll urn's retreat. It was written by his own
hand, as follows : —
" I am not as near death as I believed I was;
but were I to live a thousand years, I durst not,
injured and excellent brother, think of again
seeing your face. I told you as much in the
castle, and now repeat my determination. Per-
haps it would be the most precious part of my
atonement ; but I pray to be saved from it. I
can undergo any thing but that. Farewell for
ever ! I ask you to visit my mendicant grave.
No more. Be not disturbed about my disap-
pearance, or my present fate. I am as well off
as I deserve to be. And do not seek after me.
Indeed, the search would be as vain to you as
afflicting to me. How could you dream of my
ever again mixing among men ?
This letter had not quite the effect of curb-
ing Felix's and Redmond's anxiety to recover
PETEtt OF THE CASTLE. 373
their brother and uncle ; but still every inquiry
proved useless. While Collum's friends knew
not what to think, the country-people believed
what they liked ; and the old rumour, that Pad-
hre-na-Moulh had been watched for the good
people by Daddy Clayton and his companion,
now readily suggested the consistent story of
his having been at last spirited away to some
rath in the neighbourhood. Other accounts
said, indeed, that this could scarcely be, as, now
and then, in the middle of the night, visions of
^two aged warders had been seen hobbling
of their usual haunts.
About a month from this time, the village
school-master and schoolmistress gave their
urchins a holiday, to witness a rare sight that
the afternoon promised. Juan M'Carty and
Rosalie D'Arnell were to proceed to church to
be married. Mr. Fenelly, early in the morning,
had performed the ceremony according to the
usage of the Roman Catholic church, in satis-
faction of Rosalie's scruples. The morning fol-
lowing the visit of Collum, Mr. Pratt took his
daughter out of the country, leaving Redmond
in possession of his house and estate, and also
874 PETER OF THE CASTLE
leaving his feelings free with respect to pcor
Ellen ; and, yielding to the youth's ardent en-
treaties, Felix M'Carty, notwithstanding his un-
certainty and affliction about the fate of his bro-
ther, agreed, at the end of a month, to bless
Redmond with Rosalie's hand.
It was a clear, sunny day, although a cold
one; and the village children, unloosed from
their tasks, and their little nerves braced with
the fine weather, came running and shouting
into the lonesome church-yard, through an en-
trance from the village opposite to that by
which the bridal party was expected from the
adjacent country. Their little pipes rose high
in talk and laughter, and they had engaged in
their accustomed frolics over the headstones,
when, upon a sudden, they grew silent, and crowd-
ed together in a corner, looking fearfully across
the church-yard at two well-known old bug-
bears, Daddy Clayton and his tall helpmate,
who appeared silently employed in digging a
grave. Their work was nearly done, for they
often paused, and placing one hand on the
small of the back, as if to relieve themselves
from the effect of stooping and delving, and
another to their eyes to shade off the sun,
looked out in the direction of the road from
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 375
the old castles, evidently expecting an arrival
for which they stood nearly prepared. At last,
with many weary groans, and some curses,
they threw down their shovels, and sat under
a drooping and leafless ash-tree, at the head of
the open grave.
<c Is it the inches iv him, Daddy, aroon ?*
inquired Thomaus ; " for he 's a lenthy corpse.*'
" Why, how long would you have id ? v que-
ried his fellow-labourer ; " duv you think, for
as fine a corpse as he makes, that it 's your own
may-pole of a carcass is to be sth retched in id ?"
Thomaus, rebuked, was silent.
" I think I sees the boys bringin' him at
last," resumed Daddy Clayton, as he again
looked out — " an* they 're just in time, sure
enough ;— for the bride an' bridegroom cums on
by the other road."
" How the quality 'ill wondher to be stop-
ped in their pleasure, this day," remarked
u Yes, lad," grinned the other ; " an'
what questions they '11 be puttin' us about the
place we hid him, when, if they had as much
gumption as a blind horse, they ought to rason
wid themsefs, an* know we couldn't take him
far; or, for the matther o* that, (only them
376 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
great ones are ^ver an* always thick in the
skhull,) sure they wur behouldin' not to lave
the place, at the first goin' off, widout rism* a
stone or two from the bottom o* the stairs, any
how ; an* there they'd have him, — an* us along
wid him — if that 'ud do em any good."
" I'd be sorry they tuck the thought, Daddy;
Padhre was so much agin their ever clappin'
another eye on him; more-betoken 1 that he
gave us the good lob to hide him well. n
" Ay, ay, lad, you may say that ; the lob he
sent us for upstairs, 'ill give us somethin' to lave
for a dacent wake an' a dacent berrin."
u The same we giv' himsef, out of it, for as
snug an* as close as we hid it from them that
wasn't iv our own sort/' replied Thomaus.
While they spoke, the more regular village
sexton walked rapidly in from the village side,
his spade and pick-axe on his shoulder, and be-
gan to dig a second grave, close by the broad
pathway that ran through the church-yard, to
the .other entrance from the country.
" Here 's more o' the welcome for the quality/
said Daddy Clayton, hobbling to the sexton.
After some conversation with the man, he re-
turned grinning to his seat under the ash tree,
and resumed. *f A brave harse, wid white fea-
PETER OF THE CASTLE. 377
thers is just come into the village, Thomaus,
lad ; an' they gave the word to Jacky Spruchan
to come off in no time, an* have the lodghV
ready ; she 's on her th ravels from Dublin, we
hear, an* left it to her death to lie out here, in
the counthry air. Will you b'lieve me agin,
whin I tell you the thruth ? Duv you remem-
ber my words on the bridge, beyant ?
" Crosh-Chreestha, is id her, in arnest ?" asked
Thomaus, in much surprise. They were inter-
rupted by the return of the little boys into the
church-yard, at the different entrances, each
party heralding two distinct processions. One
was the bridal-equipages, friends, and attendants,
— a number of village girls, dressed in white*
walking two by two, at the side of the carriage
which contained Rosalie and her father; the
other was a train of ragged mendicants, some
supporting, and the rest following the coffin of
The two concourses met and obstructed each
other in the middle of the church-yard. Red-
mond put his head out of his coach to demand
the cause of the interruption, and the first thing
that struck his eye was the name " Padhre-na-
Moulh," painted black on the shining plate of
978 FETE* OF THE CASTLE.
A few words of explanation, rudely or sneer-
ingly Touchsafed by Daddy Clayton, possessed
him and his father of the true state of the case.
There was but one course. While the beggars
hurried their former brother to bis grave, and
while Rosalie stopt in her carriage on the broad
pathway, Felix M'Carty led his son, in his
bridal clothes, to stand by till the coffin was
lowered. This took some time : and ere the
ceremony was quite over, the hearse of which
Daddy Clayton had spoken, appeared coming
from the village. The person who could have
controlled this last interment, when he heard
(as soon after his sudden arrival in the village,
he did,) of the different kind of party some of
his old friends had formed upon that day, per-
severed, — half in the indifference and selfishness
of grief, half in the bitter hope of causing pain,
— in commanding an immediate progress to the
church-yard : and his Dublin undertakers, un-
affected by local feelings, at once obeyed his
Rosalie's carriage, having stopped by the side
of the grave the sexton had dug, was obliged to
draw back to give place to the hearse. Red-
mond] and his father came from seeing the last
sod laid over Collum, to extricate her out of
PfitER OF THE CASTLE. 379
her new embarrassment. At the first sight of
the man who here stood, muffled in a mourning-
cloak, at the head of the grave, Redmond started
in horror, although scarcely a feature was visi-
ble over the high cape of the cloak. He glanced
at the white feathers of the hearse, and grasped
his father's arm for support. The protectant
clergyman, compelled into his duty, appeared
to discharge his solemn office. The silver-fringed
pall was lifted off the coffin, and " Ellen Pratt,
aged 17," became legible.
Rosalie caught, as soon as he, the name that
smote him with indescribable consternation and
sorrow, and, however it affected her, instantly
stepped, in her white bridal dress, from her
carriage. Tears streamed down her cheeks. She
called together the village girls, who had volun-
tarily come to do honour to her marriage, and
some left the church-yard, while the rest stood,
two by two, round the .hearse, each pair hold,
ing between them a white handkerchief, in the
usual way in which village and country girls in
Ireland attend the burial of a deceased maiden
companion. And now it was seen by all, that
Rosalie meant they should, for this day, bestow
at the grave of her poor rival the honours they
had intended for her wedding. The girls she
380 PETER OF THE CASTLE.
had sent away, came back with a garland of the
earliest flowers ; and she took off her own white
ribbons to intersperse the flowers, according to
custom, with the bunches they made.
Redmond and she stood hand by hand, until
the grave was raised ; their father, the villagers,
young and old, and the crowd of mendicants,
looking on. The garland was placed by Rosalie
over Ellen ; and it was many months ere the
bridal party of that morning returned to the
church-yard, to complete the wedding in which
they had been so mournfully interrupted.
( 381 ) ,
A friendly critic has pointed out in the last
chapter, a similarity between the incident of
Collum throwing himself on his knees beside
the girl in the chapel, and one to be found in
the beautiful poem of " Paradise and the Peri."
So soon as the critic spoke, we acknowledged
the truth of his observation ; but not pleading
guilty, at the same time, to an intended imi-
tation, and unwilling to deprive the story of
an incident that assisted it, we have ventured,
with this avowal, to appeal to the indulgence
of the reader.
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